Rhone Beaujolais Wines

Grape flavours
Added Flavours
Aged flavours

Too many times people dismiss Beaujolais as a naive young cousin to the big Pinot Noir and Syrah wines of Burgandy and the north Rhone. People say it doesn’t age well and its light fruitiness doesn’t suit the educated palette.

Well stuff them!

Beaujolais is a fantastic relaxed drinking wine, easy to enjoy, flexible with what it pairs with, and perfect in summer, autumn, winter and spring. You can even chill some Beaujolais for maximum refreshment.

The majority of Beaujolais is made with gamay grapes. In 1395 Philipe the Bold, a Duke of Burgundy banned gamay from burgundy, calling it a“bad and disloyal” grape, so stuff him too. It is one of the red berry flavoured grapes, so expect cherries, red currants or raspberries and even occasionally strawberries. Very light tannins, high acidity and sometimes a hint of banana (yes true) gave it body but it is not a strong wine. Everybody should have some Beaujolais in the house for emergencies.

There are Four Ranks of Beaujolais:

  1. Beaujolais Nouveau: is the youngest and least developed, closest to grape juice with easy to spot cherry and Raspberry.
  2. Beaujolais: he’s one of the best wines to have with pizza. Light bodied and easy drinking, it has more depth than the Beaujolais Nouveau but the red berry notes are still pronounced.
  3. Beaujolais Village: I think these wines are some of the best value wines you can get. They sit in the sweet spot between easy drinking and a fully developed wine.
  4. “Crus” Beaujolais (of which there are 10 types): each with islands of distinction, carrying their own distinct character and name. Two of my favourites are:
    • a. Brouilly: which I like chilled and goes particularly well with vegetarian dishes and sheep cheese, and
    • b. Fleurie: with its elegance and floral notes. It matches nicely with chicken or garlic dishes, and is one of my favourites for picnics and aromatic cheeseboards.

Gamma grapes are also found in Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Oregon in the United states. Derivatives of gamay can also be found in California.However Beaujolais is its home and thousands of years since theRomans first planted here. Call to its character is the winemaking technique called carbonic maceration:whole bunches of grapes initially ferment without oxygen before regular fermentation begins. This both increases the fruity flavours and reduces the amount of tannin giving Beaujolais it’s characteristic high fruit low tannin freshness. Beaujolais Nouveau is one of the lowest tannin wines available.

But my love of Beaujolais is it flexibility when it comes to food. From pizza and pasta to chicken Kiev and aubergine bake to fresh, sheep and goats cheeses,Beaujolais does it all. Grab your cheese board and uncork a bottle.

Tasting Notes

Beaujolais wines are known for their vibrant and fruity characteristics, primarily made from the Gamay grape variety.

Body: Light to medium body. Known for high acidity, generally dry, and characteristically low tannin levels. Moderate alcohol levels, 12.5% to 13.5%.

Grape Flavours: Gamay grapes, the primary grape variety, provides red berries and some floral notes.

  • Red Berries: Cherry, raspberry, and strawberry notes are pervasive in Beaujolais wines, contributing totheir fruity appeal.
  • Floral: Many Cru Beaujolais wines, such as Fleurie, exhibit floral notes like violet and bramble, which contribute to their elegance.
  • Spice: Some Cru Beaujolais, like Morgon and Juliénas, showcase spicy elements such as cinnamon, adding complexity and depth.
  • Mineral: Beaujolais wines often possess a mineral character, reflecting the region’s diverse soils.

Impact of Flavouring Techniques: Beaujolais wines are straightforward with emphasis is on purity of the grape and terroir. They are less influenced by flavouring techniques such as oak, malolactic conversion or lees aging.

Aging: Beaujolais wines are generally designed for early consumption and are not typically aged for extended periods. With some age may bring earthy notes, dried fruit, and more mature red fruit flavours.

Whether you’re looking for a light, refreshing sipper like Beaujolais Nouveau or a complex, age-worthy wine from one of the Crus, Beaujolais has something to offer every palate. Its fruit-forward nature, vibrant acidity, and food-friendly character make it a beloved choice among wine enthusiasts worldwide.

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