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Wine style is a moving target, always in flux. The kind of wines that endure, that make us pause, think, and feel, are precious indeed. These days, wines that deliver pure refreshment, that speak to a region and reflect an environment, are celebrated worldwide. Back in vogue (for good, we hope) are reds, whites, and pinks with brisker acidity, subtle complexity, balanced alcohol, and, perhaps, age-old tradition. The past definitely informs our Best of Show wine, Dominique Piron Brouilly Combiaty 2009.
Our winner comes from the southern reaches of Burgundy, in the rolling granite hills of Beaujolais. Here the Gamay grape anchors its roots deep in glinting crystalline rock and gives us jubilant cherry-flavoured, tangy wines with delicate tannins and unmistakable terroir expression. There are really two kinds of Beaujolais: mass-produced quaffing wines (including early-to-market simple Beaujolais Nouveau), and the finer cru wines with extra concentration and character from better sites, older vines, and traditional winemaking methods. For over 300 years the Piron family has tended vines in the cru of Brouilly, and the 2009 Combiaty reflects that intimate knowledge. Ruby-hued, with floral scents, dark cherries, herbal and earthy lifts, and the dry palate shows piercing berry fruit with spice, gamey notes, light tannins, and distinct minerality. Refreshing and wondrously balanced, it will gain complexity in the bottle for a few more years. Enjoy it with saucisses frites, raclette cheese, or slow-cooked barbecue.
Return to 2012 Wine Awards results