From: Beaujolais, France
Varietal: 100% Gamay
Marine Descombe runs her family's winery and bottling business at Vins Descombe in Brouilly. Started in 1905 by her grandfather, Marine now heads up all aspects, still facing headwinds from the local patriarchy. Nothing stops her impressive work ethic and drive, however. She recently purchased the dilapidated 17th c. Chateau Pougelon in St. Etiennedes-Oullières, expanding her vineyards in Brouilly and has made remarkable progress with the domaine’s 30 hectares under vine with HVE sustainable farming. Her explanation of HVE has 4 tenets: Seldom or no use of phytosanitary treatments, preservation of biodiversity in the vineyards, limited use of fertilizer, and reduced use of water in the entire winemaking process.
Here is a temperate climate, though with strong variations due to the confluence of oceanic, continental, and Mediterranean influences. In 38 municipalities of the Rhône and Saône-et-Loire, and 3 geographical zones with marked specificities, Beaujolais-Villages is famed for its high-altitude hillside vineyards, fully planted atop the granite of the region (unlike the charming Beaujolais AOP which is planted in sandy soil). It was the first appellation in France to use the term “villages.” These delectable red wines mark a kind of transition between Beaujolais AOP in the south and the ten cru appellations further north. Cru Beaujolais is famous for its 10 types of unique granite and Marine likes to say, if you want to know the subsoil, just look at the color of the houses.
Harvest is done only by hand, and grapes are sorted and partially destemmed (40%). The vinification is in the Burgundy style, i.e. slow and soft grape pressing, and vatting for 10 days. Fermentation lasts one month and then the wine ages in large cement tanks. Marine makes Morgon, Julienas and Brouilly in addition to this glorious Beaujolais-Villages.
Tasting Notes: A textbook blue stone Brouilly-style Beaujolais-Villages from one of the great women winemakers in France. Beautiful purity of Gamay Noir fruit – meets cement aging – showcasing the unique expression of Beaujolais that cannot be reproduced anywhere – but here!
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