JWL Issue #081: In Memory of Georges Dubouef, plus a Primer on pinot meunier

January 7, 2020

Georges Dubouef died this week. Georges was responsible for the creation of Beaujolais Nouveau Day. On the third Thursday of every November, Beaujolais producers would ship their very first bottles of young red wine. The celebratory day that ensued was Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

For me, it was his Fleurie about four years ago that made me sit up and want to engage more with wine. Wine people often talk about the bottle. The mysterious bottle where they fell in love with wine. For many, it always seems something so out of reach and mysterious. For me, it was something far more humble. I’ll be heading to Sainsbury’s later this week to pick up a bottle in his honour.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas & New Year. I had a considerable time off and break from work.

Welcome to new Wine List customers. Lots of you bought gifts for your loved ones over Christmas, and I’m incredibly grateful. New Year has disrupted shipment times and we’re shipping a little later than usual – but your wines should be with you by this weekend.


Curva Tinto Douro (£8.99 from Whiskey & Wine) provides some incredible value. Chocolate, violets and black berries fill the nose, with a peppery edge coming through on the palate. The finish keeps going. A fantastic Portuguese wine: especially with winter dishes.

Signum Rosso Salento 2018 (£7.50 from Jeroboams) is lively on the nose, with redcurrants, and cherries coming through. This is a simple but well balanced wine, and feels like it’s been treated with care. I had this after a couple of older Riojas, and it was a real fresh delight: I could have easily quaffed a bottle.

Red Miller 2018 by Hush Heath (£40 from their website) is the first English red wine to ever win a gold medal at the IWC. It’s a rare pinot meunier single varietal, one of the grapes traditionally used in sparkling wine. This is wonderful and deeply interesting. Smoky, earthy, with red and mulberry fruits singing. On the palate, this has a soft mouthfeel and a real elegance. There’s still a real distinct Englishness about this, despite the heat of the 2018 vintage.


Pinot meunier

Pinot meunier is most commonly recognised as one of the three main grapes used in Champagne production. And since England’s huge switchover to the classic varieties, a lot has been planted here too.

For a long time, it was the quiet backbone of sparkling wine, but in more recent years has gained favourability for its body and richness. In England, more and more producers seem to be favouring it there sparkling wine blends, where the grape seems to do particularly well. But, Hush Heath’s might just be the first in England to make a single varietal still wine from it.

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