Those that visit here with some passing regularity may recall me occasionally pronouncing about the importance of not pronouncing about vintages. Sometimes, though, doing so is not only inescapable but can also serve a purpose more meaningful than selling magazines or over-simplifying the never ending process and deeper intricacies of trying to understand wine. So, with that in mind...
2008 was a difficult vintage in Beaujolais, with more rain and less sun than usual through much of the summer as well as hailstorms in late August. Many wines, even from top notch producers, show some of the effects of the growing season. The Fleurie "Clos de Roilette" from Coudert Père et Fils is a good deal more austere than usual, though still very fine. Georges and Jean-François Trichard, who produce lovely fruity-style Cru Beaujolais in more generous years (think 2005 and 2007) turned out leaner, tarter, less giving wines than usual in 2008.
Régnié (Sans Soufre), Domaine Christian Ducroux 2008
$16. 12% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Fruit of the Vine, New York, NY.
Another producer whose wine, like that of Coudert, shows the challenging character of the vintage but is still delivering substance and pleasure is Christian Ducroux. His 2008 Régnié displays some stemmy, green aromatic traits but integrates those with lovely fruit vibrancy and focused structure. Its slight leanness is actually welcome this time of year, rendering it quite refreshing, and also quite at home at the table, providing the requisite cut and freshness for a dinner of roast salmon or grilled chicken thighs. Day two brought a slight loss of focus but a very pleasing development of textural richness and mineral concentration.
The fine staff at the shop where I purchased this bottle told me that this particular cuvée is produced without the addition of any sulfur. I can find nothing on the bottle, not even in code, to indicate that's the case, but I have no reason to doubt it. There was actually another bottling, one where Ducroux had added a little sufur, for sale at the shop. Had I been more on my game that day I would have procured some of each, to facilitate a side-by-side comparison. That, my friends, will have to wait for another day.