Andrew Guard

2017 Régnié, Georges Descombes

Régnié is the most recent Cru in Beaujolais and perhaps the least well known. Stylistically the wines have a velvety charm but perhaps without the minerality of some of the other Crus. They excel with an attractive fruitiness and vivid freshness that makes them perfect to drink in their first few years and the best examples, such as this, will age further. This one has a vivid crimson/purple colour with attractive fruity aromas (confit strawberry, herbs, flowers..) In the mouth it is very crispy and juicy with fresh, crunchy and vibrant fruit and a long gossamer finish; this little beauty is pretty hard to put down!

I am excited to finally have the wines of Georges Descombes in my portfolio. He is the unofficial 5th member of the famed ‘Gang of Four’ (Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Jean-Paul Thévenet and Guy Breton) who shook things up in the late eighties by returning to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and disdaining chapitalization. Their wines have become world famous and each has his individual style.

In the winery, he uses very little (or no) sulphur and eschews filtration. Where his style differs from his peers is that he leaves the must to undergo cold carbonic maceration for a whole 30 days. He then ages his wines for around a year (in barrels for the Vieilles Vignes) prior to bottling. Further extended ageing in bottle helps these natural wines to stabilise and develop. The resulting wines are amazingly fresh and mineral whilst having the structure to age.