Do you sometimes find it difficult to choose a wine? If you don’t have a friendly local wine merchant or winemaker to hand, the best solution is to look for the château on the label! The wine inside is sure to be fit for a king!
When it comes to Beaujolais wines, trust in conventional wisdom. There are more than 300 chateaus and country homes in the Beaujolais winegrowing area, many of which have vineyards.
What if we took you to Versailles to convince you? Versailles in Beaujolais, otherwise known as Château de la Chaize, in Odenas is a wonderful example of 17th century architecture. The estate covering nearly 330 hectares is landscaped with French formal gardens designed by the King’s famous gardener André Le Nôtre . Château de la Chaize has 140 hectares of vines, and is hence both an architectural and winegrowing wealth with the production of lovely Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly and Fleurie vintages. The wines are matured in the longest vat room in the Beaujolais region: a 108-metre-long building classified as a historical monument.
Other impressively sized cellars can be found in the chateau de Juliénas, former stronghold of the Lords of Beaujeu. They are in the basement under the courtyard and cover a surface area of over 200 metres, the equivalent of two football pitches! Juliénas has been produced there for five generations.
In Villié-Morgon, Château de Bellevue overlooks the village. The 19th century mansion was once inhabited by one of the Lumière Brothers’ children as well as by Princess Lieven, née Chateaubriand. With a vineyard that stretches out over 15 hectares in the Morgon appellation, the wine estate is considered one of the gems of the Beaujolais region.
Château des Bachelards, Château Thivin, Château des Moriers, Château Saint-Vincent or Château de Fleurie and Domaine de Briante, to name but a few, are also part of the long list of the winegrowing region’s heritage treasures. There’s no doubt about it, the area is full of Châteaux and to discover them all, you just need to come for a visit!
When the wine tells a story
If you want to follow the trail of the Lords of Beaujeu, visit the château de Montmelas in Montmelas-Saint-Sorlin, a former garrison that belonged to the Lords of Beaujeu in the Middle Ages. The château looks down on the surrounding area from the top of its hill.
In the 19th century, the architect Viollet-le-Duc gave it a new look by adding crenelated towers. Ever since it has been nicknamed “Sleeping Beauty’s castle”.
The chateau’s vines produce Beaujolais Villages wines; the profile of the Marquis of Montmelas whose family has owned the château for five centuries appears on the label.
History and story lovers may want to investigate the chateau de Vaurenard in Gleizé, and more particularly a bottle of Baron de Richemont, a Beaujolais appellation. The Baron claimed to be Louis XVII, son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The building dates from the 17th and 18th centuries
Stunning chateaus of golden stones
Enjoy the sun’s rays at the château de Rochebonne in Theizé. Its 17th century façade of golden stones is to be enjoyed with a glass of Beaujolais Villages.
Another place to soak up the rays is Jarnioux: the chateau is a marvel in golden stones that will delight Renaissance enthusiasts. Some of the building dates from the 12th century, which makes Jarnioux château one of the best preserved in the region. It is the kingdom of the Beaujolais appellation.
For a relaxing break in a fully renovated 15th century chateau, try the château de Bagnols, a great starting point for exploring Pierres Dorées country and its wines.