Andrew Guard

2021 Brouilly 'Vieilles Vignes', Georges Descombes

From very old vines, this is without one of the handful of great wines of Beaujolais, one you can cellar with confidence. 2021 is my favorite recent vintage in Beaujolais and all the winemakers love it too, much forgotten after the hype of the 2019s, these are beauties.. The nose is bright and crystal clear with typically entrancing aromas of red/black cherries and hints of sweet kirsch. I love just to swirl and smell this wine - In the mouth the taste is energetic, fresh and focused, with juicy fruit, fresh acidity and a firm mineral grip. It has beautiful tension, balance and length. To me, this is perfect Cru Beaujolais from George, please keep some in your cellar!

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.