A youth movement continues to sprout in the wine world. At a time when Gen Z and Millennial consumers in the U.S. increasingly reach for spirits-based beverages, newer generations taking the helm in wine is critical. It adds new, interesting dimensions to an age-old category.
For instance: Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. Representing the third generation of family leadership, Aurelian Duboeuf became Estate Technical Manager for this French mainstay in 2020. This prior week, at age 24, it was Aurelian traveling to New York City to sample the 2020 vintage and recap the 2022 harvest. In the past it was his father Franck, or Aurelian’s grandfather Georges, the company’s late, legendary founder and namesake.
Hosting the tasting at Midtown’s Benoit, Aurelian spoke with fluid excitement on topics germane to younger consumers. Discussion included the importance of “crafted wines,” “sustainability” and “success on social media.” Not just for connecting with Gen Z and Millennials, but also for the future of the company, and the wine industry itself.
Accordingly, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is in the process of obtaining organic certification.
“That’s key for the younger generations,” Aurelian said. “They are asking for it. We’re so careful with making the food and what we eat and drink. We want to do the same with our winemaking process.”
As for social media, he pointed out the annual success of the Beaujolais Nouveau artist label competition.
“It is most important that we show our passion for wine on social media,” Aurelian said. “We want to show our terroir and our stories. Our wines are the stories of the men and the women out in the vineyards.”
The 2020 Georges Duboeuf Vintage
And what of those wines, the 2020s? Generational change may be underway at Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, but their recent vintage showcased all the same subtly and brilliance that you would expect from the category-defining company.
Starting with two chardonnays from Maconnais. The 2020 Domaine les Chenevieres Macon-Villages (SRP: $31.99 per 750-ml. bottle) has lemon zest and straw on the nose, before a vibrant palate of soft white fruit with plenty of body. The 2020 Domaine Beranger Pouilly-Fuisse ($53.99) is creamier, with white fruit and floral notes backed by a touch of oak. Both beg for light appetizers.
Getting into gamay, we next sampled the 2020 Domaine des Quatre Vents Fleurie ($31.99). The Queen of Beaujolais, as Aurelian aptly dubbed it, displayed its typical elegance and grace. “Easy drinking” is an understatement for this velvety smooth wine, fresh with red and blue berries, defined entirely by subtly.
The 2020 Chateau des Capitans Julienas ($31.99) arrived at the same time as my filet mignon aux poivres. The darker berry/cherry flavors and sturdy tannins and spice held up perfectly with the peppercorn sauce, so hot that I had to take off my suit jacket. (But I’m a baby with peppery or spicy fare.)
Regional royalty was complete with the King of Beaujolais, Aurelian declared, pouring the 2020 Domaine des Rosiers Moulin-a-Vent ($34.99). Compared with the Queen, here is layered boldness in black and red fruit, rounded out with floral flavors, altogether dark and delicate.
The tasting concluded with the 2020 Jean-Ernest Descombes Morgon Cote du Py ($34.99). Darker cherry notes dominated this rich, mouth-coating wine, with touches of cocoa, brandy and spice.
The 2022 Georges Duboeuf Harvest
Aurelian reported on the 2022 harvest in and around Beaujolais. A dry climate was the defining feature, he said. So much so that the whites saw reduced malolactic fermentation, unusual for the region, in an attempt to increase acidity. Naturally, warmer weather also resulted in higher sugar and greater alcohol content, Aurelian added.
He compared the 2022 vintage with those of 2015 and 2003 — two other years with hot temperatures and reduced rainfall.