Much influenced by its 4 terroirs oscillating from pink granite to calcareous clay substrates, Brouilly is clothed in a deep dark intense ruby robe, with aromas and flavours that are more fruity than floral, with forthright red fruit, plum and a few mineral notes faithfully reproducing the Gamay bouquet. With its supple tannins, the Cru crafted by 400 winemakers gives finesse and joy. The singularity of this Cru is that none of the communes in the appellation bear its name. The most widespread and southernmost of the Beaujolais Crus gets its name from the hill Mont Brouilly where Brulius, a lieutenant in the Roman army, had his seat.
Made by 122 winemakers, shared between Chénas in the Rhône department and La Chapelle-de-Guinchay in the Saône-et-Loire department, Chénas has a ruby robe with garnet tints, floral aromas of peony and rose nuanced with spicy and woody notes as the wine ages. A generous, well-built wine to cellar, it can be beautifully tender on the palate. On the rough slopes that were home to oak trees in yes-teryear, the vines of the appellation nourish the refined and thoroughbred rarest of the Beaujolais Crus. Legend has it that this wine is at the origin of the name of the grape variety: one day a winemaker came here to store his wine in a barrel, dipped in his cup and tasted and tasted again until he sung a full scale (gamme in French).
Around 80 winemakers nurture its ruby robe and its aromas, where a floral bouquet is at the fore with violet, iris, lily of the valley and peony. Its flavours are those of the red fruit that the Gamay grape expresses so well. Chiroubles more-ish by nature, it slides easily down the throat. Tender, fruity and lip-smacking, the soils its vines grow in are remarkably homogenous, poor and shallow. Backing up on to the Monts du Beaujolais, this appellation is the highest up at between 250 and 450 metres above sea level. Because temperatures in Chiroubles are lower than in other areas of the Beaujolais region, the harvest here is later, around a week after the banns have been called for the Beaujolais vineyard.
Entrusted to 85 vinegrowers, Côte de Brouilly displays a crimson robe, aromas of fresh grape and iris and is delicate and nervy as long as it is allowed to age for its elegance on the palate to develop. The product of diorite and schist, the soil on the flanks of Mont Brouilly alternates between blue stone and marbled dark green stone called "corne verte". On the steep slopes, the Crus has its most original ambassador in Château des Ravatys, that has been owned by the Pasteur Institute since 1920.
Grown by 150 professionals, Fleurie gets its intense crimson robe, its floral and fruity aromas of iris, violet, rose, red fruit, and vine peach from the pink granite soil the vines grow in. The monthfeel combines elegance, finesse and a fleshy and silky body. Evolving to notes of spice with the years, this Cru makes the most of the specific geography of the appellation area, backing up on to the a chain of peaks including Avenas, Durbize and Les Labourons. The appellation owes its name to a Roman legionary and not to any old bouquet of flowers. It has 13 different named vineyards or ‘climats' giving characteristic wines; they include La Madone, Grille-Midi, La Chapelle des Bois and Champagne.
Over sixty vinegrowers tend Juliénas vines, this area is without a doubt at the origin of the Beaujolais region's viticultural vocation. With the greatest variety in terrain of all the Beaujolais vinegrowing area, this Cru dons a deep intense ruby robe, with aromas of strawberry, violet, cinnamon, red currant, and peony, releasing fleshy, well-built flavours that are discreetly spicy and a good length in the mouth. Growing at 230 to 430 metres above sea-level the vines are shared between soils of granitic origin in the west and sedimentary terrain in the east. It is worth leaving the bottles to age for 2 to 3 years for the nuances of vanilla and spice to fill out.
In reference to the village of Villié-Morgon that nestles in the heart of the Beaujolais Cru area, Morgon is fashioned by 250 winemakers. It is clothed in deep garnet and gives off ripe stone fruit aromas including cherry, peach, apricot and plum. Well-built, this rich powerful and fleshy wine has the biggest vineyard after Brouilly and expresses all the characteristics of its terroir. Overlooked by Mont du Py, the plots of "roche pourrie" (rotten rock) made up of very ancient schist and eruptive rock are shared between 6 very distinct named vineyards or ‘climats', the most famous of which is Côte du Py. This wine to lay down is suited to 5 to 10 years' cellaring, Morgon is maybe the Cru that best expresses its terroir. So much so that the winemakers here have invented a special word to describe what it does on reaching it peak; Morgon is said to "morgonne". A verb that has been adopted by many wine specialists.
300 men and women hold the key to this, the most prestigious, Beaujolais Cru. The Moulin-à-Vent appellation area spreads over just 2 communes; Romanèche-Thorins in the Saône-et-Loire department and Chénas in the Rhône department. Set around a robe that goes from deep ruby to dark garnet, this wine gives off floral and fruity aromas of violet and cherry in its first years moving on to iris, spice and ripe fruit up to overblown rose, truffle, musk and even venison. Well-built and complex, Moulin-à-Vent is a wine to lay down par excellence, up to 10 years depending on the vintage. Nourished by crumbly pink granitic arena also called gore, crossed through with seams of manganese that are, without a doubt, behind the wine's characteristics, Moulin-à-Vent is an intense, tannic wine. It is said for this Cru, like for many of the other robust Crus, that with age it tends to "pinote", coming close in personality to that of its Burgundian neighbours with the very cherry aromas that are specific to the Pinot.
Fruit of the labour of 120 winemakers, Régnié is a fragrant, rounded wine that is enjoyably long on the palate. Its robe varies between cherry and ruby. The aromas of raspberry, red currant, sloe, blackberry and blackcurrant are clothed in spicy and mineral notes. A Subtle balance of red fruit that is fresh and structured with refined tannins, Régnié comes from southeast facing vines that are planted 350 metres above sea-level on pink granite that is rich in mineral elements. Enjoy it from early to up to 5 years after the harvest.
Cherished by barely 50 winemakers, from its granitic and clay schist soils Saint-Amour gives, two types of wine with sparkling ruby red robes, fruity and floral flavours. Depending on how the winemaker chooses to vinify his wine the Cru will be tender with very characteristic and complex red fruit, peony and peach aromas resulting from short maceration. The best time to enjoy them is within 12 to 15 months, or Powerful, fattier, full-bodied and stamped with kirsch, spice and mignonette aromas. They will reach their peak around 4 to 5 years after the harvest depending on the vintage. Rubbing shoulders with the terroirs of Saint-Véran, the cradle of Saint-Amour is one of the smallest Beaujolais appellations, much looked forward to for Saint Valentine's Day.
1 250 winemakers give life to Beaujolais-Villages, the first appellation in France to have used the term "villages". In 38 communes in the Rhône and Saône-et-Loire departments and 3 geographical zones with marked specificities, these fruity, fleshy wines reflect the characteristics of the terroirs they came from. The fruit of granitic and sandy soils, Beaujolais-Villages have an intense robe with cherry to garnet tints and aromas of red fruit with blackcurrant and strawberry at the fore. Though a third of production is sold as Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau, the appellation also stands up very well to its rank of cellaring wine.
Accredited in September 1937, the regional appellation of “Beaujolais” is the most emblematic and the most widespread. It makes up half of the entire region’s annual wine production. The area circles Le Bois d'Oingt and then lengthens down to the south towards Villefranche and along a ribbon of land that verges the Saône River up to La Chapelle-de-Guinchay, this is the only Beaujolais appellation that may use the "Guyot" pruning style along palisades, with the single or double canes pruned to a total of 6 to 8 eyes. Making the most of a legislative decision made in the 50s allowing the first anticipated release of wine onto the market, the Beaujolais range is rich in Nouveau wines. Beaujolais Nouveau is made using short vatting and a subtle dosage in the different stages of vinification. The result is the fresh, lip-smacking, aromatic and fruity characteristics that are behind the wine’s success. After Nouveau, Beaujolais waits for spring to give off all its fruity flavours and freshness making this the ideal wine to celebrate the return of bright sunny days with barbecues, picnics and al fresco meals.
The "Beaujolais blanc" regional appellation came into being in 1937, set at the extreme northern end of the winemaking area, on the borders with the Mâconnais winemaking area and to the southwest of Villefranche, in the triangle that has Liergues, Le Bois d'Oingt and Bully at its points. Made using the Chardonnay grape and not the Gamy, Beaujolais Blanc and Beaujolais-Villages Blanc are rare wines crafted by nearly 200 winemakers. They are vinified in a totally different way to the red wine: the grapes are pressed on arrival at the cellar. Fermentation lasts around a fortnight. These wines are rare pearls set in the string of gemstones that are the red wines. They give off subtle aromas of fresh fruit and blossom. In the tradition of this great grape, they combine substance and freshness, a successful balance between roundness and finesse within which there may also be a zest of complexity and sometimes a touch of vanilla if the wine has been aged in barrels.
Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages rosé : mellow emotions
Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages rosé is made using the Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc grape that is emblematic of
the Beaujolais region. As its name suggests the skin is black while the juice is white or clear. Beaujolais-Villages Rosé
is made by pressing the grapes direct, after they may or may not have macerated on the skins for a short period. This
is where its diaphanous colour that varies in shade from pale rose petal to salmon pink comes from. Fresh and thirst-
quenching, Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages rosé rolls over your tongue without ever being aggressive, forsaking
acidity for tenderness. Lip-smacking and suave, it makes a perfect partner to fun simple summer dishes.
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