The Beaujolais region is famous for producing fresh, fruity and light red wines from the Gamay grape.
The region benefits from a mostly temperate sunny climate but is also subject to stormy weather coming from the Mediterranean. The northern part of the Beaujolais district – also known as Haut Beaujolais – has a granite-based soil, whereas the southern area – Bas Beaujolais – is mainly clay based with some limestone in specific areas including the famous golden stones.
Grapes in Beaujolais are hand-harvested.
Beaujolais is traditionally made by carbonic maceration. Whole bunches go into the vat, unbroken, which leads to the grapes starting fermentation internally, a process which minimise the production of tannin and malic acid while maximises the smell and flavour of the fruits. After a few days the grapes are pressed, the skin removed, and the fermentation carries on in vat. The wine is made within a month of harvest.
Beaujolais Nouveau or Beaujolais Primeur
More than half of the wine produced in the region is vin de primeur which can be consumed from the third Thursday of November. The Beaujolais Nouveau is a fun, easy drinking light red wine.
Only a small percentage of the wine produced in the region carries this appellation. Beaujolais Supérieur tends to be a little bit stronger than the standard Beaujolais AOC.
Beaujolais – Villages
39 villages in the Haut-Beaujolais district have the right to use the appellation Beaujolais – villages. Some individual growers who bottle their own wine chose to use this appellation however most Beaujolais are sold by merchants who blend several villages to suit their client’s taste.
There are 10 Crus villages in the Beaujolais district.
Brouilly is the largest and most southerly of the villages. It produces rich, full and fruity reds, sometimes quite tannic.
Chénas, the smallest cru, located on slopes, produces some rich and powerful deep red wines with aromas of fruits and flowers and occasional spiciness. Chénas wines age well.
Chiroubles, high in the hills, produces delicate light coloured, fresh red wines with strong scents of violet.
Côte de Brouilly produces full, rich deep purple red wines with intense fruit flavours of redcurrant, raspberry and blueberry.
Coteaux du Lyonnais produces light bodied red wines as well as fresh and dry white wines made with Chardonnay grapes.
Fleurie produces one of the finest wines in Beaujolais with the classic fresh and floral notes as well as a depth of fruit which can last for years.
Juliénas is believed to be the first Beaujolais village to be planted, dating back to Julius Caesar’s time. It produces rich, spicy and fruity red wines with a firm and robust structure which have a good ageing potential.
Morgon produces deep, dark garnet coloured red wines with a solid structure and a singular intense bouquet of raspberry and kirsch. Morgon wines often age well.
Moulin-à-Vent is known as the king of Beaujolais. It produces ruby red wines with intense soft fruit flavours, violet and roses notes, and a good tannic structure. With age, the wine develop truffle, boletus mushrooms and venison flavours and can be kept for 10 years.
Régnié produces two distinct styles of red wines, one is light and fragrant, the other is fuller and more meaty.
St-Amour, the most northerly Cru, produces charming red wines with a seductive bouquet and fragrant flavours. Notes of soft fruits such as apricot and peach can also be found in the wine.
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