This is one of those wines you pass around your Sunday dinner table with friends, family, a roast chicken and the fear of embarrassment as you open the last of the six pack you purchased just as you’re clearing the table for cheese (the real drinking starts with the cheese as I’m sure you all know) and now you’re out of wine. Some bottles just go down that easy.
The Domaine Dupeuble has been around for 500+ years as a continuously functioning winery. The name has changed a couple of times and the first Dupeuble to put their name on the shingle was Jules when he married the heiress to the property in 1919. Today, grandson Damien is in charge with his entire family involved in operations of this now 100 hectare property, 40% of it devoted to vines. Kermit Lynch, éminence grise of American importers, discovered these wines in the late 1980’s and a great relationship was forged. One that brought these wines to our shores for the first time.
The domaine is situated deep in the south of the Beaujolais AOC in the hamlet of Le Breuil. This is the southern half of Beaujolais, meaning everything south of the town of Villefranche-sur-Saone, and known for the light, fruity qualities of its wines. This is also the area known as the Bas Beaujolais, a terroir known for its flatter terrain and rich, sandstone and clay based soils. The majority of the Domaine Dupeuble is planted instead on granite soils with a bit of limestone, both types of rock the key to quality in the northern Beaujolais where the famous crus are located. This is what sets these wines apart.
Being staunch advocates of sustainable farming, there is no use of chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Fruit is harvested manually, fermentation done on natural yeast, no sulfur, no chaptalization, no new oak, no filtration. Real, honest wine and it’s clear from the first sip.
The 2012 vintage was a tough one as you may have already heard, especially if you read these emails, but conscientious producers like Dupeuble were able to take advantage of the fact that the fruit they did harvest was of superlative quality. It just took an extraordinary level of attention to detail.
The 2012 Dupeuble Beaujolais from first nose performs way beyond its humble pedigree. A beautiful bouquet of cherries, cranberry, smoke and violet is anything but subtle. Pure and sappy mid-palate, medium bodied and fantastic balance, just a touch of the tannin of the vintage, excellent length and grip. And all of 12.5% alcohol according to the label. After consuming a bottle or two, I’d say it’s actually just a bit lower than that. I’d also compare this to a classic Chambolle-Musigny but at $14.99 I think I’d sound a bit cheeky. So I won’t. In any event, this is the best red wine I’ve ever offered at this price point and it happens to be in decent supply so I’ll also refrain from badgering you to stock up (but you really should get your hands on some).