Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jean Descombes Morgon, Georges DuBoeuf, 1995

Jean Descombes, with 32 acres of Gamay vineyards in Morgon, was the artisan. Georges DuBoeuf is the businessman who bottles and distributes the wine worldwide. The two agreed with a handshake about 1980, and the wine has been one of the world's great wine values ever since--widely available for $8 to $12 a bottle and consistently good year after year. Jean Descombes died in 1993, and his daughter Nicole Savoye-Descombes is now making the wine.

I started buying Jean Descombes Morgon on a regular basis in 1991 and saw no change in the quality or style of the wine since Nicole took over. When the wine is young it oozes with raspberry-puree fruit, then it becomes gradually more austere but increasingly complex and beautiful. It's hard for me to decide which face of Jean Descombes I like best.

I last had the 1995 a year ago, just after tasting the 2005, and decided then that I liked the '05 better, even for current drinking. After last night's bottle of the 1995, I'm thinking the opposite. The color was deep with some amber. It had the classy appearance and bouquet of a fine red Burgundy--calm and reserved with ripe cherry fruit scents and maybe a hint of volatility betraying its age. On the palate, it was also very Burgundian with gentle strength and charm and a reserved tart cherry fruit presence. I'm ready to try the '05 again, but right now, this mature Cru Beaujolais is hard to beat.

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