Place: Chiroubles — Beaujolais, France
Words by Andrew Guard, Georges' Australian importer:
"The unofficial fifth 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.
This starts 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 chapitalisation. His wines have become world famous and each has his individual style.
As soon as Georges took over the estate from his father in the late eighties he immediately started shifting viticultural and oenological practices forward. Though his father had always worked traditionally in the vineyards and cellar, Georges decided to push things further by practicing organic viticulture (certified by Ecocert) and eliminating all manipulation during vinification.
In total, Georges owns about 15.5ha of land spread over five appellations: 7.5ha in Morgon, 3.5ha Brouilly, 2hain Regnié, 0.5ha in Chiroubles and 2ha of Beaujolais Villages.
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 thirty 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."
On the wine
"Tucked away up in the hills between Morgon and Fleurie, Chiroubles is often described as the most Beaujolais of the ten crus of Beaujolais. In other words, everything that makes wines from this region so loveable—low alcohol, explosive flowery aromas, high-toned juicy fruit—are intensified in Chiroubles."