Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Blanc 2021
In the 510 years since founding their family domaine, the Dupeubles have selected the sites less favorable to Gamay, the region’s main cash crop, and planted Chardonnay for a Beaujolais blanc. Plump, juicy fruit dominates the nose, with an inviting abundance of citrus and peach, the whole upheld by a lively acidity. Like a delicious Burgundy but less fussy, Dupeuble’s white is just as reliable as their hedonistic rouge.
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In the hamlet of Le Breuil, deep in the southern Beaujolais and perched above a narrow creek, the Domaine Dupeuble has been running almost continuously since 1512. The name of the domaine has changed just three times in its history, most recently when the last heir, Anna Asmaquer, married Jules Dupeuble in 1919. Anna’s son Paul, and her grand children Ghislaine and Stéphane Dupeuble, manage the domaine. Kermit first met Ghislaine and Stéphane’s father, Damien, for lunch in Paris in the late 1980s, and thus began the annual tradition of blending the KLWM Beaujolais Nouveau.
Tradition runs deep in the family, but each generation has also managed to add something new, including increasing the property. Today it is comprised of one hundred hectares, about forty percent of which is consecrated to vineyards. Strong advocates of the lutte raisonnée approach to vineyard work, they tend their vines without the use of any chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. The vineyards, planted primarily to Gamay, face Southeast, South, and Southwest, and about two thirds of the property is on granite-based soil. The grapes are harvested manually and vinified completely without SO2. The wines are not chaptalized, filtered, or degassed and only natural yeasts are used for the fermentation. The wines of Dupeuble represent some of the best values in the Beaujolais today and are widely regarded for their very high quality and eminently reasonable price.
The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.
Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot Noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.
Four styles of Beaujolais wines exist. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the Beaujolais wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Aside from the wines simply labelled, Beaujolais, there are the Beaujolais-Villages wines, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, and offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior sections are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.