2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau

Year: 2011
Appellation: Beaujolais
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 83
Wine Enthusiast: 84
Red Wine
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"Black currant, boysenberry and spice notes mix with fresh acidity in this light-bodied red. Modest finish. Drink now. 165,000 cases imported." (WS)

"There is a layer of tannins here that adds a dry edge to what is otherwise a sweetly fruity wine. It is full, with juicy strawberry flavors. " (WE)

Winery Notes:
The End of the 2011 Beaujolais Grape Harvest

Under perfect weather conditions, the 2011 grape harvest started on the 22nd of August in the early-fruiting vineyards and finished on the 15th of September in the later zones.  A rarity for us winemakers, we have harvested twice in 12 months- grape-picking started last year on the 13th of September.

We had a heatwave from the 22nd to the 30th of August, when the new moon saw in showers and some cooler sunny days.  The 8th, 9th and 10th of September brought us back up to 30-32° C to complete an excellent ripening in the later-fruiting zones.

In terms of the quantity picked, we'll have to wait a few weeks to properly measure the size of the harvest.  Right now, we believe that not all of the winemakers have brought in their full yield.  In each appellation, and particularly in the AOC Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages, some winemakers have reported harvesting between 42 and 48 hectolitres per hectare, with the total yield for the appellations being 52 hl per hectare. In the Cru regions, it will vary greatly between vineyards.  It is like this every year.

With this 2011 millésime, we will have high-quality wines from every parcel of the Beaujolais.  Of course, there will be differences between zones based on factors which we are familiar with every year: the land, ripeness, health of the vines, know-how and above all, talent and the skilled hand of the winemaker.

Our campaign « Primeurs 2011 » (Young Wines 2011) is under way, and we only have a fortnight of wine-tasting.  We still need to taste and re-taste several times a vineyards wines before we can make our choice, and we only have three weeks left to choose the ones we love.  The task will be hard and the days will be long, but we hope that the passion and experience that drive us will lead us to the right choice.

At this stage of the campaign, telling you the qualities and unique characteristics is no easy task.

Essentially, not many wines have yet finished their malolactic fermentation, making it hard for us to make a sound judgement about these wines during, or at the end of, their fermentation.

At the end of our latest Nouvelles du Beaujolais (Beaujolais News) on the 30th of August, we have declared 2011 to be an incredible millésime in Beaujolais.  Today I'd say, incredible but true! As we often say, the millésime always reflects the weather.  2011 follows this rule.

Looking back, we can say that the April and May heat brought on a very early blossoming.  June and the first days of July were sunny.  After this, the end of July and August turned cloudy and brought rain.

According to the village, we measured between 120 and 140 mm of rain, bringing upon us an almost tropical climate.  After this, we had some brilliant, even scorching, sunshine (35 to 43° C), putting our region under « heat-wave alert ».  It was under this sweltering heat that the grapes reached their peak ripeness, and the harvest got under way.  As for the later-fruiting areas, just like their neighbours, they had some great weather and a superb ripening across the region.

After having tasted several hundred samples, I'm astounded by this terrific millésime.  It looks like this will top every excellent year in the Beaujolais wine hall of fame.

There is something divine about it.  It is like nature has granted, under the shining sun of April and June and the fire of late August,  a dazzling body.

From this sunshine, the grapes were splendid, a beautiful deep black, each grape small, perfectly ripe with a nice thick skin, sweet and dense: everything required to succeed and become an exceptional vintage under the skill and talent of the winemaker.

If  our young wines are a purple-tinted black, our crus, right now, are an almost impenetrable black.  This is a good sign that these will be wines to keep and age.

As for the aroma, it leans more towards forest fruits with notes of ripe wood strawberries.  You find some beautiful scents of redcurrants, and occasionally vine peach aromas.  We've also discovered here and there touches of blackcurrant, and even blueberry.

These aromas give way to a very full body, voluptuous, generous and bountiful, which fills your mouth.  2011 looks like it will have a great body, enriched by well-rounded but lively tannins which hold up easily a wine bursting with wild fruits.  A flush of youth, you might say.  Add to this a lively touch which caresses both the warm fullness and the delicious freshness, to leave behind a flavourful finale.

2011 will be a great millésime in Beaujolais: complex, serious, solid, generous, rich in delicious flavours.

We still have many vintages to taste in this new millésime.  As always, there are differences between the villages, the land, the winemakers' skill, talent, experience and how he transforms this harvest to distinguish between the wines to be drank young, and the ones worth keeping in the cellar.

In the young wine category presented to us today, it will be our daily work over the next fortnight to pick our selection.  This is a great year, so the task will be easier.  It's up to us to choose the best young wines which, in a voluptuous, full-bodied and generous millésime, will require many great tastings.

What luck we have to be able to go to « our market », a range of beautiful wines in the cellars of our winemakers.  A chef can go to the market every morning, us wine-merchants can only go once a year.  So let's stop talking and get down to our market, the wine cellars.

Yours in Beaujolais. Georges DUBOEUF Romanèche-Thorins, 21th september 2011