Descombes Morgon: Rethinking 2010 Beaujolais

Posted by Joe Salamone

Rethinking this Beautiful Vintage
2010 Georges Descombes Morgon
A SERIOUS Tribute to Beaujolais' Virtues

"Me, I look for wines that are gouleyant [gulpable] and silky in the mouth." -Marcel Lapierre

It was this Lapierre quote, above, which I had read years ago in a 2004 Art of Eating piece on Beaujolais, that instantly came to mind when I drank a bottle of Descombes Morgon 2010.

In many ways, Descombes' buoyant 2010 Morgon is truly archetypal - of Lapierre's Beaujolais-ideal but also of the virtues of the 2010 vintage in Beaujolais, which are many.

The 2010 Beaujolais are vigorous, beautifully concentrated and balanced, structured with ultra-fine tannins and feature a clarity, an energy which the more buxom 2009s (and 2005s for that matter) can only dream of.

This is going to be one of those vintages that when viewed with the clarity of hindsight, is going to be valued at a much, much higher level than its rather quiet arrival would suggest.

The truth is, when it comes to Beaujolais, in recent years, we've been very fortunate, and in a way, misled. Vintages like 2005 and 2009 with their ripeness and structure are impressive and merit deep purchasing - but are atypical (extraordinary) vintages.

They should be celebrated (lord knows we bought, sold and celebrated them!), but they're not exactly faithful to a more classical conception of Beaujolais and what it has to offer,which is energy, a snappy, vigorous palate. Beaujolais should in a way be easy (which is not to say simple), lighter, joyful, with fresh fruit, herbs and minerals.

Those who bought Foillard or Metras in 2007 know how good Beaujolais from classic vintages can be.

Descombes Morgon 2010 dramatizes the virtues of Beaujolais from a classic vintage. It is led by Morgon's signature cherry fruit that is rendered with great purity, which is set against a backdrop of herbal and mineral notes. The wine is animated by a lively acidity that makes emptying a glass (or bottle) perilously easy.

It should be come as no surprise that a bottle by Descombes would impress me the way it did. Since joining the formidable Louis/Dressner portfolio, Descombes has been a favorite of many Beaujolais fanatics. He was deeply influenced by Lapierre. The story goes that Descombes tasted Lapierre's wine and was so impressed that he decided to make wine using the same methods on the spot.

He's also the type of vigneron that doesn't cut corners: he holds his wines back longer (hampering his cash flow) because he thinks they benefit from it. This is his basic Morgon and it hit the market six months after many of his peers.

If you like having a stash of wine that's simply joyous and that is very flexible at the table, then this is of interest.

And note that the "classical" vintage tag is by no means an apology for soft, unconcentrated vintage - these are vigorous, stuctured wines. I'd expect the 2010 Descombes Morgon to improve over the next couple years in the cellar, probably longer. So stock up!

To place your order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits