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Beaujolais

Beaujolais is a small appellation/wine region south of Burgundy and north of the Rhone valley.

Wine has been produced here since the times of the Romans.

There are 3 broad categories of Beaujolais wine.

1. Beaujolais. This is the least expensive of the 3 levels of wine. A large proportion of the wine is released within months of harvest. This is called "Beaujolais Nouveau."

2. Beaujolais Villages wine is produced from an area made up of 38 villages in the north of the Beaujolais region. The hilly, granitic terroir here is considered superior to that of the flatter lands in the south of Beaujolais and, as a result, Beaujolais Villages wines are considered to be of a higher quality than those of the straight Beaujolais appellation. 

In fact the terroir of northern Beaujolais is widely considered to be one of the best in the world for growing the Gamay grape variety. Vineyards sit on the sunny south- and southeast-facing slopes, where bright sunshine and dry, warming foehn winds help the grapes to reach optimal ripeness.  These coarse, sandy soils are considered superior to the more clay-dominated soils of southern Beaujolais, as their heat-retaining quality helps the vines to reach optimal ripeness, and they are highly permeable, allowing for excellent drainage in the vineyards.

The Beaujolais Villages appellation accounts for around a quarter of the Beaujolais region's total annual output, most of which is red wine, with just small amounts of white and rosé wine produced. The appellation law has slightly different rules surrounding vinification and permitted yields than the more generic Beaujolais appellation, giving rise to a slightly fuller-bodied, more concentrated style of wine. While most Beaujolais Villages wines are made for immediate consumption, some of the best examples can be cellared for up to five years.

3. Cru Beaujolais

There are 10 Crus of Beaujolais, all in the north and producing only red wine.  Each has its own distinct personality, based on ‘terroir’– climate,soils, altitude, aspect and a host of other factors – that are duplicated nowhere else. These wines are much more complex and will develop beautifully over time much like a good Burgundy.

The names of the cru Beaujolais from north to south are

1. Saint-Amour

2. Juliénas 

3. Chénas 

4. Moulin-à-Vent 

5. Fleurie 

6. Chiroubles

7. Morgon

8. Régnié

9. Côte de Brouilly

10. Brouilly

 

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