BEAUJOLAIS 

The Beaujolais region is located in Burgundy just south of the Maconnais district.

When comparing Beaujolais to the rest of Burgundy there are several differences:

 

Grape varieties * Climate Soil *  Vinyard practises Wine styles * Vinification process 

 

Beaujolais is almost exclusivley planted to my personal favourite easy drinking red grape variety Gamay, they vinify the grape using a method called carbon maceration which produces a bright, fruity low tannic wine. 

 

HISTORY

ROMANS - Beaujolais was first culitvated by the Romans 

 

7th Century - Benedictine Monks arrived through the middle ages and are responsible for cultivating the vineyards of Beaujolais 

 

10th Century - Lord of Beauju was ruling the area, Beauju being a town from which the Beaujolais region now takes it's name 

 

1395 - Philippe the Bold, Duke of Burgundy outlaws the cultivation of Gamay in the Cote D'or. Gamay grape moved south to now what is know as Beaujolais where it found it's new home. 

 

Lyon Metropolis - As wine prices increased due to tax in France  the people from Lyon decided to buy the wines produced in their region being Burgundy, Beaujolais and Rhone Valley wine, this greatly boosted their development. 

 

19th Century - Railways throughout France expanded. As new distrubtion channels opened Paris became the top market for Beaujolais wines. 

 

1951 - The first Beaujolais Nouveau was created! 

 

UVIB (Union Interprosfessionelle des Vins du Beaujolais) set the date for the first release at November the 15th

 

1985 - INAO (Institut national des Appellations d'Origine) offically designated the 3RD Thursday of November every year for the release of Beaujolais Nouveau

 

1970-1990 - 1/3 total production out of the region is Beaujolais Nouveau

 

LOCATION

  • Beaujolais is located South of Macon and North of city Lyon.

 

  • Very south of Burgundy and North of the Rhone Valley 

 

  • It is a small wine growing region 

 

  • Saone River - vineyards are a few miles away though do not flank it. The river has a temperature moderating effect on the region.

 

  • Nizerand River - acts as a divider for the region, the river runs horiztontaly through Beaujolais, on either side of the river there are 2 distinct soils types. 

 

  • In Northern Beaujolais the soils are Granite and Schist and all of the Grand Cru vineyards are located here.

 

  • Southern Beaujolais the soils are Limestone and Marl, Beaujolais Nouveau, and Beaujolais AOCare produced here

CLIMATE

  • Climate is Semi-continental

 

  • Experiences all 4 seasons

 

  • Proximity to the Meditterranean Sea  - warming effect on the region, creating warm and dry summers. 

 

SPRING Cool and wet, frequent frost hazards, Monts du Beaujolais protect the vineyards from cold winds and help provide an enviroument for safe budding and flowering

 

SUMMER - Hot and dry, thanks to the Meditterranean allowing for greater ripening potential than the northern Burgundian sub-regions, Cote D'or and Chablis 

 

AUTUMNS - Rain and warmth. Gamay is susceptible to Grey Rot. Vignerons have to employ mamagement practises to open up the canopy and maximise sunlight exposure. This will mitigate humidty build up and helps dry the grapes

 

WINTER - Cold, frost, snow and light hail. Most vines are able to achieve full dormancy which is the key to health, productivity and longevity of a vine.

 

NORTHERN BEAUJOLAIS 

 

GRANITE SOILS

Producing wine with structure and complexity. All of the Beaujoulais Crus are located here .

GEOLOGY 

Nizerand River divides the region into 2, the terrior on either side is different

SOUTHERN BEAUJOLAIS 

 

CLAYEY LIMESTONE SOILS

Producing light, fruity easy drinking regional wine. Beaujolais AOC and Beaujoalis Nouveau 

TOPOGRAPHY 

MOUNTAIN PEAKS 

 

  • North - western part of the region Beaujolais 

 

  • Best vineyard sites are on the steep granite outcroppings of the Mount du Beaujolais. 

 

  • All Beaujolais Cru's are planted here

 

  • Slopes are 195- 300m above sea level, average height of 300 meters

 

  • The highest peak is Mont Saint Rigaud at 900m

 

  • You will not find any machines in these vineyards, all work is entirely by hand

 

 

GENLTE SLOPES

 

  • South and East of the Mountain peaks

 

  • Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages AOC producing areas

 

 

ROLLING PLAINS 

 

  • South of the gentle slopes

 

  • Majority of the Beaujolais AOC are located here.

 

  • Vineyards do not flank the Saone River as the land is too fertile. 

 

 

GRAPE VARIETIES

 

 

GAMAY

98% of plantings in Beaujolais,

cross between Pinot Noir and

Gouis Blanc. Thin skins, low

tannis and vibrant fruit

 

 

 

 

WHITE GRAPES 

 

50,000 acres and only 500 acers are dedicated to white wine

 

  • CHARDONNAY 

 

  • ALIGOTE 

 

  • ​MELON DE BOURGOGNE 

 

  • PINOT GRIS

Gamay is responsible for majority of wine produced in Beaujolais. The wine is  light-bodied, fruity, low tannis, tart flavours of cherries, strawberries, raspberries and  banana. The banana flavour is the result of a fermentation process called carbonic maceration

OPTIONAL BLENDS

 

BEAUJOLAIS  * BEAUJOLAIS SUPERIEUR 

BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES  *  COTE DE BROUILLY (CRU) 

 

Wines needs to be 85% Gamay, winemakers are allowed to supplement with Pinot Gris, Aligote, Melon and Pinot Noir was phased out in 2015 

 

In all Cru's  

Winemakers can add up to 15% Chardonnay, Aligote and Melon 

 

EXCEPT 2 CRUS

 

REGNIE ( 100% GAMAY )

 

COTE DE BROUILLY, as well as the grapes mentioned above winemakers can also add Pinot Gris.

 

 

WHITE WINE

 All can be made up of Chardonnay and Aligote 

 

 

 

WINE STYLES 

 DRY REDS 

 

GRAPE - GAMAY

  

The Gamay grape is fermented using a technique called Carbonic Maceration. Whole clusters are placed into the fermentation vessel and undergo a enzymatic fermentation, each berry ferments within itself. Once complete the free-run juice is racked off and the grapes are pressed. 

The fermentation length depends on the style of wine being made

 

Beaujolais Nouveau 2-3 days 

Beaujolais 4-6 days 

Beaujolais Villages 7-9 days 

Beaujolais Crus - 8-15

 

CLASSIFICATIONS FOR DRY RED

Beaujolais AOC

Beaujolais Villages AOC 

Beaujolais Crus AOC 

Bourgogne Gamay 

Coteaux Bourguigons 

 

CARBONIC MACERATION RED WINE VINIFICATION 

 

  • Whole clusters are put into a tank immediately after hand harvesting without any pressing, crushing or de-stemming

 

  • The weight causes the clusters at the bottom og the tank to burst

 

  • Wild yeasts begin to transform the grape sugars into alcohol

 

  • Carbon Dioxide releases forcing all of the oxygen in the tank out. This creates an anaerobic envirourment. (oxygen free envirourment)

 

  • Anaerobic envirourment creates a enzymatic/biochemical fermentation inside each of the intact grapes in the tank 

 

  • Biochemical fermentation converts a small portion of the malic aicd into ethanol. This is where the famous aromas of bananas, candy, pears, raspberries is made. 

 

  • Free-run juice is racked off 

 

  • Free-run juice - the juice from the tank that has undergone a traditional yeast fermentation.

 

  • Press wine  the juice that has undergone the semi-carbonic intra-berry fermentation 

 

  • Free-run and press wines are blended 

 

  • The wine finished its alcoholic fermentation without the skins and with the help of yeast 

 

  • Wine undergoes MLF Malo Lactic Fermentation to help soften the wine

 

  • Wines are racked off their lees and aged in oak casks, concrete or stainless steel tanks. After aging they will undergo filtration before being bottled. Beaujolais Nouveau will not be aged.

SPARKLING SWEET ROSE 

 

Usually produced in the Methode Ancestrale, a process where the alcoholic fermentation comes to a hault due to the cold weather.

 

Partially fermented wine is bottled and capped, fermentation is kick started with a controlled rise of temperature.

 

The carbon dioxide produced by this fermentation becomes trapped in solution and forms the bubbles we love.

 

The style of wine produced is sparkling with residual sugar and low alcohol levels. There is no AOC for this wine in Beaujolais 

DRY ROSE 

 

Rare but on the rise ! 

Made from Gamay.. what else?!

gaining popularity in France, Japen and Britain.

 

 

WHITE WINE

 

DRY white wines are produced in Beaujolais although the production is small demand for white wines is increasing. 

 

Usually fermented in stainless steels tanks which allows the wine to remain bright and retain fresh fruit flavours and aromas. The age will be aged briefly, some producers will  ferment and age in oak  to created a more rounded, toasted, buttery wine with spiced apple flavours 

 

Most wine does undergo the malo-lactic fermentation, this will lower the acidity in the wine and provide a more rounded mouth feel with a smoother, creamier texture. 

 

Beaujolais Blanc 

Beaujolais Villages AOC

 

Sparkling Wines 

 

Produced for Cremant de Bourgogne

small amounts of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay

 

VITICULTURE PRACTISES 

Gobelet training

 

Was a mandatory training technique in the red Beaujolais Villages and the Beaujolais Cru AOCs

 

Limits yields which concentrates flavour compounds in the clusters producing high quality grapes, in return the wines produces will be full-flavoured and have great aging potential 

 

A short pruning method

 

Ancient method of vine training, no wires or support system, the trunk of the vine is kept short at roughly 1/2 meter. 

 

Another term for this pruning method is 'head training' or 'bush vines'

 

Best suited to warm, dry climate without fertile soil

 

This training method is perfect to prevent rot in humid environments because the bushy architecture of the vine discourages evaporation of water from the fruit and foliage. 

 

Commonly found in Old World nutrient de-pleted vineyards. Regions within France using this method include Beaujolais, Rhone Valley, Provence and Languedoc. 

 

 

Cordon (single and double) & Eventail training techniques

 

Have both been approved alternatives for Beaujolais Villages and Cru AOC

 

<--- Guyot training technique 

 

Only permitted for 

Red and White Beaujolais AOC

Beaujolais Villages AOC

 

The vine is lifted higher off the ground and the fruit zone at a height that enables hand harvesting. Provides great sun exposure within the grape canopy. This training technique generates higher yields because of the number of fruiting buds

 

APPELLATIONS

10

BEAUJOLAIS 

CRUS

38

BEAUJOLAIS

VILLAGES

AOC

30

can append the village name onto their label

BEAUJOLAIS AOC

10 CRU'S

North to South

St Amour

Julienas

Chenas

Moulin-a-Vent

Fleurie

Chiroubles 

Morgon

Regnie

Cote de Brouilly

Brouilly

 12 

  AOCs 

10 Cru's

+

Beaujolais Villages

+

Beaujolais

BEAUJOLAIS AOC 

 

Red and Rose

Upto 15% Melon, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Aligote and Pinot Noir was phased out in 2015

 

Beaujolais AOC Superieur

Higher alcohol and conceration due to lower yields 

 

White

Chardonnay and Aligote will be phased out by 2024

unoaked

no Superieur

BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGE AOC 

 

Red and Rose 

Same blending forumla as Beauojalis AOC, differences are:

more densly prigmented 

les overt grapiness

deeper berry fruit

slighter more tannin

solid core of minerality 

vines are grown on Granite Soil

 

White 

Same blending as Beaujolais AOC, differences are: 

more concenrated flavour 

deeper, richer

comparable to a Macon white from Burgundy

BEAUJOLAIS CRU (10)

 

Red only

Lowest yields in Beaujolais 

Hand harvested

Min alcohol 10%, special climates min 10.5%

Upto 15% Chardonnay, Aligote & Melon EXCEPT 

 

Regine - 100% Gamay

&

Cote de Brouilly - Up to 15% Chardonnay, Aligote, Melon & Pinot Girs

 

10 BEAUJOLAIS CRU'S

ST AMOUR  

 

Northernmost Cru, borders Maconnais 

 

Soil, Granite & Clay 

 

Aspect, East & South East 

 

Min alcohol 10.5%

 

Style, produces wine of short and long maceration

JULIENAS 

 

Named afterJulius Ceaser

 

Acidic soils, Granite 

 

Aspect, South facing vines 

 

Min alcohol 10.5%

 

Style, strawberry, violets and cinnamon

CHENAS 

 

Smalled Cru & Greatest aging potential 8-10 years 

 

Favourite wine of King Louis XIII

 

Soil, Granite & lower on the slope clay and stone 

 

Aspect, North West, East and South 

 

Min alcohol 10.5%

 

Style, floral, voluptous mouth feel

 

Moulin-a-Vent

 

Considered KING of Beaujolais 

 

Soil, pink Granite 

 

Aspect, East facing vines 

 

Min alcohol 10.5%

 

Style, most full-bodied and tannin

can age  for atleast 10 years 

FLEURIE

 

Min alcohol, 10.5% 

 

Style, fruity, floral, sweet spice

CHIROUBLES 

 

Most "Beaujolais" out of all the Cru's 

 

Highest 1480ft & Coolest Cru

 

Soil, Granite

 

Min alcohol 10.5%

 

Style, highly perfumed 

MORGON

 

2nd LARGEST Cru 

 

Min alcohol 10.5%

 

Style, Cherry, apricot

 Pinot like, Earthy

REGNIE 

 

NEWEST CRU 

 

Min alchol 10.5% 

 

Style, tart cherry, 3-5 cellaring 

COTE DE BROUILLY

 

Located on the slopes of Mount Brouilly 

 

Only Cru to have vineyards on slopes 

 

Style, fresh grapes, cranberries and minerality 

BROUILLY

 

Southernmost Cru 

 

Largest Cru

 

Accounts for 20% Cru production

 

Style, fresh grapes and red berries.

BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU

96 Villages proudcing Beaujolas Nouveau 

 

1/3 of the regions total production 

 

2/3 of Nouveau is Beaujolais AOC

 

1/3 of Nouveau is Beauloais Villages AOC 

 

Labelled Nouveau or Primeur

 

Follow same blending forumulas for the AOC under

which they are bottled 

 

Hand harvested 

 

Semi-Carbonic maceration 

 

Released on the 3rd Thursday of every November 

 

Serve, slightly chilled

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