The great years for Beaujolais wine: deciphering vintages


You often hear people speak of "a very good vintage“ (millésime in French) when referring to a good wine. The year on the label is taken as a guarantee of quality. Is this a reliable indicator? Deciphering Beaujolais wines.

Vintage: definition

The vintage is a bit like a wine’s date of birth. It specifies the year in which the grapes used to make it were harvested. It is an important indicator of the quality of a wine because it mainly relates to the weather in the particular year.

So in the same winegrowing area, some vintages will be better than others depending on the amount of sun and water that they had in the year they were produced.

So generally speaking, 1992 and 2002 are seen as average years across the whole of the French winegrowing area. While 2005, 2009 and 2010 are considered highly sought-after years. And this also applies to the Beaujolais region.


The very good years

2006, 2010 and 2014 are very good years. For a superb fruity, soft and aromatic vintage, choose a 2010. For roundness, finesse and elegance with structure and length in the mouth, go for a 2014.

2013 is a late vintage. The wines are structured, with superb aromatic expression and excellent freshness.


Exceptional years

Whether you're looking at Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages or the ten crus, go for wines from 2003, 2005 and 2011 rather than the vintages that are listed as "exceptional".

2011 is excellent quality wine, a rich, opulent and silky vintage.


Historic vintages

2015, like 2009, is considered close to perfection. The former is a rich, generous and perfectly balanced vintage

Some people may be lucky enough to have the opportunity to try the vintage of the millennium from 1959 or the vintage of the century from 1969.


Subtle differences in classification

It goes without saying that this classification is based on general observations. It gives a rough idea, a kind of average.  Because what might be an average year for the winegrowing area as a whole could be a good year for one of the crus or appellations that may have avoided unpredictable weather conditions.

Don't forget that a vintage can also vary depending on the terroir and the knowledge and skills of each winegrower.


In short, you can rely on the vintage label but don't forget to take into account the many additional factors that give a wine its richness and identity.