Beaujolais – The “It” Wine of the Summer

If we had to drink just one wine for the rest of the summer, it would be Beaujolais.  Often overlooked within the Burgundy region, Beaujolais has been gaining steam lately, particularly Cru Beaujolais, and we couldn’t be happier! Made with 100% Gamay in a fresh & accessible style, Beaujolais is the quintessential crowd pleaser, perfect for casual summer barbecues and fine summer dinner parties alike!

Never heard of Beaujolais? Have no fear! Keep reading for a crash course on this summer’s it wine.

The Region

beaujolais mapBeaujolais is a small region within Burgundy just north of Lyon and south of Macon.  It is split into three categories: Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, and Cru Beaujolais.

The Beaujolias AOP is the largest appellation of the three, located mostly in the southern part of the region, where the land is very flat, making it more difficult to properly ripen the grapes. Because of its size and terroir, you’ll find the widest variance of quality within this category.

The next step up is the Beaujolais Villages AOC.  There are 38 total official villages, and these areas are a little more specialized.  Beaujolais Villages is mostly in the center part of the region, shown on the map in the lighter pink color, surrounding the crus of Beaujolais.  Unlike the clay soils in the Beaujolais AOP, Beaujolais villages features granite and schist soils, giving the wines more of a mineral quality.

The highest level of quality in Beaujolais is Cru Beaujolais. As you can see on the map to the left, there are 10 different crus within Beaujolais. A Beaujolais cru is a little different than one in burgundy – rather than an individual vineyard, it is a small village.  Recently, the Beaujolais region as a whole has been working to define distinct climats, which are equivalent to single vineyards, within the crus. Climat is an official recognition, and an important step to earning premier cru designation in the future. These wines are complex and can age well, but still feature the freshness and fruitiness that Beaujolais has come to be known for. You can’t go wrong with Cru Beaujolais – it’s drinkable and enoyable on release, yet can still rival fine Burgundies in ageability, all for a fraction of the price.

Not sold yet? Learn more about some of the different crus below. Maybe you’ll find a favorite!

 

map courtesy of Wine Folly

The Crus

Brouilly

Located at the southernmost end of the crus, Brouilly is also the biggest of the Beaujolais crus. Its wines are open and easy, with an exuberant quality.  Although they still have nice aging potential, they are meant to be enjoyed young and often. Brouilly is also one of the most well known areas in Beaujolais – they’ve been selling their wines to the Paris market since 1769.

Try: Domaine Dubost Brouilly Vieilles Vignes

Régnié

Moving north from Brouilly, we reach Régnié, the newest of the crus. Régnié features many organic vineyards and winemakers, and is considering the up & coming cru of the region. Wines from Régnié are amazing when young, featuring aromatic red fruit flavors and nice freshness.

Try: Domaine Dubost Régnié “Terroir du Potet”

Morgon

Morgon is the second largest of the crus, and has a very unique feature: their soil. It is a decomposed schist soils called roches pourries, meaning rotted rocks.  This soil is believed to contribute the ripe cherry notes found in Morgon wines. Morgon is known for wines with power and structure, and can rival red Burgundies with age.

Try: Domaine Dubost Morgon “La Ballofiere”

Fleurie

Next is Fleurie, known for producing the most aromatic wines in Beaujolais. Although it is just to the north of the Morgon cru, these two couldn’t be more different. Where Morgon is powerful, Fleurie is delicate and subtle.  The elegance of Fleurie wines abound, earning the cru the title of “The Queen of Beaujolais”.

Try: Domaine Dubost Fleurie “Le Vivier”

Moulin à Vent

Moulin à Vent, located towards the northern end of the region, is known for producing intense wines with body.  If you’re a fan of Burgundies, this is the cru for you! These wines age excellently, and are very complex. The cru gets its name from the French word for windmill; a local windmill has become a historic monument, and is now the symbol of the area.

Try: Domaine Dubost Moulin à Vent “En Brenay

Serving Beaujolais

beaujolais glass picnic

One of the best things about Beaujolais is its versatility – there is a multitude of ways to enjoy a nice glass!  Check out our list below for some ideas:

Try it chilled!

Because of its freshness and fruitiness, it is absolutely delicious with a little chill on it on a warm summer’s day. Throw the bottle in the fridge about 15 minutes before serving – you don’t want it too cold!

Try it with BBQ!

Although you wont’ get any arguments here that BBQ & beer go hand in hand, swap that brewskie out for some Beaujolais next time! The nice cherry and red fruit notes in the wine will play off the sweetness in the BBQ sauce and make for an awesome combination.

Try it with friends!

Beaujolais is a great crowd pleaser wine, it really has something for everyone.  It’s light and fresh enough for the most novice wine drinker, but complex and serious enough for any oenophile as well.


Written by

Emily Jane Coffman
Emily is the Marketing & Sales Support Manager of Kindred Vines Import Co, and loves all things wine, food, and travel. At any given point you can find her with a glass of wine in her hand and her nose stuck in a book.

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