For now, though, Duboeuf has to think locally, about the current vintage and the myriad decisions that have to be made to sell 30 million bottles in a year. So why did he choose this life? “The wine business is hard to move away from,” he says. “You can stay at home if you like gardening—viticulture is really just that. Or you can travel the world and share the bounty of the appellation.” Duboeuf does a bit of both, and he knows it’s a lucky position indeed: “There are only so many businesses like that.”
2010 Duboeuf Beaujolais Highlights
Below are some of the most noteworthy of the Duboeuf wines I tasted with Franck. They’re all ready to drink now.
Mâcon-Villages ($9): A clean and easy white with green-apple flavors and healthy tangy acidity. “Serve it as an aperitif,” says Duboeuf.
Pouilly-Fuissé ($20): “The grand dame of our region,” says Duboeuf. “Voluptuous, creamy.” This white has a nice elderflower character and a touch of marzipan.
Beaujolais-Villages ($10): It looks and tastes purple, with the kind of berry freshness that makes it the perfect picnic wine (chilled). Blended from the grapes of dozens of different growers, “this is an example of the négociant at work,” he says. “A painter with a very big palette.”
Fleurie ($16): This cru is the most floral on the nose—appropriate given its name—with a long finish of red fruit. “It’s the most elegant cru,” says Duboeuf. “The finesse, the flowers, the tannin—you cannot be disappointed by Fleurie.”
Morgon ($14): A delightful black cherry flavor, almost kirschlike, defines this generous cru wine from one of Beaujolais’ largest appellations. “Aromatic, fruity,” says Duboeuf.
Morgon, Domaine Jean Descombes ($16): The most revered of Duboeuf’s wines year in and year out, it has the grower right on the label—“one of the first that my father did this with, to show his respect,” he says. This vintage is outstanding once again—spicy, sexy, and boasting a remarkably supple mouth feel.
Moulin-à-Vent ($16): A powerful cru wine with hearty tannins and black-fruit flavors, this wine could age happily for a few years and begs to be served with food. Says Duboeuf, “It’s simply the king of Beaujolais.”
Ted Loos writes the “Tasting Notes” wine column for Epicurious.com every month and also contributes to Vogue, The New York Times, and other publications. He last wrote for Gourmet Live about New York’s Finger Lakes. Follow him @LoosLips on Twitter, where he tweets the #WinoTheDay.