Thursday, February 14, 2013

Weekly Wine Review - Gamay - 2011 Duboeuf Morgon Descombes

As I learned a bit about French wine, surprisingly I was quite intrigued learning about the  "other" red wine made in Burgundy, home of exquisite and expensive wines made from 100% Pinot Noir.  This other grape and the variety of this week's wine review is Gamay.  I find it interesting because of the wildly different styles of wine that this grape makes.

In November each year you may have noticed bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau wine on the shelves. This is an annual tradition in France where wine is made from Gamay grapes, but in a very different way than most all other red wines. Geeking out a bit, the process is referred to as Carbonic Maceration, and basically involves placing the grapes in a vessel,  filling it with carbon dioxide, and letting the whole grape ferment. Typically the grapes are crushed and some type of yeast added to begin the fermentation process.  This process creates a wine mostly devoid of tannins, made to be chilled and gulped rather than sipped as part of the annual celebration of creating this wine.  Carbonic Maceration can bring about aromas and flavors of candy, bubble gum, bananas - not exactly the typical red wine aromas! The wine needs to be consumed quickly as it has none of the elements that allow a wine to age are present in Beaujolais Nouveau.
Bubble Gum & Bananas - Oh My!

After all that diatribe - this weeks review is of the other style of Beaujolais.  Still using the Gamay grape, but making a more traditional red wine. Beaujolais Nouveau is sometimes called the red wine for white wine lovers, but can the more traditional style of Beaujolais play the same role? Well, let's see!

Wine: 2011 Duboeuf Morgon Descombes
Region: Beaujolais-Villages, France
Grape Varieties: Gamay
Obtained from: Purchased at Total Wine & More
Price: $15.00
Wino4Life Category: Everyday Wine
Aeration before tasting: Just a swirl or two, no special aeration.

Cork Condition: Real cork - no defects or issues.
Appearance: Wine is clear with a translucent red color and a water white rim.
Aroma: Very nice berries - mostly raspberry (I happened to have some on hand to smell the real thing in comparison!) with something a bit floral (I have little to go on as to what various flowers smell like, so I just stick with "floral"). Also a dry leaf and rock/mineral aroma as well. Very nice - none of the bubble gum or bananas - but for this one those aromas shouldn't be here!  As I continued to swirl, and the wine warmed a bit, the floral smell started to become more evident, and maybe a bit of licorice as well. Quite a lot going on!
Taste: Nice big fruit/berry flavor that gives way to some minerals, a nice amount of acid (mouth watering feel), and a good bit of tannins (mouth drying feel). A nice balanced finish - great to just sit back and enjoy.

The Grade: I give this one a A. A very nice light bodied wine that still has a nice bit of complexity. A nice transition wine for white wine lovers who want to venture into the red wine world (while very light bodied, a Beaujolais Nouveau may be too bizarre and scare away some white wine lovers).  As I continue to sip, the wine tastes better and better to me.

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