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A Moulin-à-Vent cuvée awarded World’s Best Gamay 2024

Last Saturday, January 13th, the 14th International Gamay Competition was held at the Cité Internationale in Lyon. 811 cuvées from 4 different countries – France, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil – competed for the much-desired title. And after Brouilly in 2022, and Côte de Brouilly last year, a Moulin-à-Vent cuvée won the trophy.

Learn more about the 12 Beaujolais AOCs.

A record number of tasters

This event is not to be missed for some wine professionals and educated amateurs. 181 of them attended the event to taste the numerous cuvées registered for this competition. Gold and silver medals were attributed after a first tasting.

At the end of the first selection, a special jury of experts – a sommellerie teacher, an oenologist, a restaurateur, a wine merchant and a sommelier – blind tasted again the gold medal cuvées in order to find the best. It’s finally Moulin-à-Vent Old Vines 2023 from Domaine de Colonat which was elected World’s Best Gamay 2024.

267 gamay cuvées awarded by a medal

267 medals, among which 164 in gold and 103 in silver, were granted to the best Gamay cuvées of this competition. The jury also awarded a special mention to the best wine from Switzerland: Coteau de Peissy AOC, Le Baron Rouge Old Vines 1er cru 2022 from Domaine des Charmes, 100% Gamay.

Find the complete award list on the competition official website.

International Gamay Competition – © VBerlanda
Moulin-à-Vent Old Vines 2023 – Domaine de Colonat
Julie and Thomas Collonge

Moulin-à-Vent awarded World’s Best Gamay

The “World’s Best Gamay 2024” trophy has been awarded to Moulin-à-Vent Old Vines 2023 from Domaine de Colonat.

Winegrowers for 9 generations, the Collonge family cultivates 3 hectares of vines and produces cuvées of Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Chiroubles, Brouilly, Régnié and white Beaujolais AOCs. After studying viticulture and oenology, Thomas trained in France and abroad before joining the family wine estate for 10 years of passing on knowledge from its parents. Since 2018, Julie and Thomas have been continuying to develop the wine estate. The knowledge of their best terroirs allows them to offer 5 cuvées from specific plots from Moulin-à-Vent and Morgon AOCs.

Nous avons identifié au Domaine de Colonat trois éléments qui nous semblent essentiels pour produire des grands vins : nos vieilles vignes, le choix de la date de récolte et le tri des raisins à la récolte.” confie Thomas Collonge.

The grapes of this cuvée come from 3 different plots of Moulin-à-Vent AOC: les Greneriers, Bois Pontdevaux and Maison Neuve. The clay-granitic terroirs offer limited but regular water availability to the 61 to 93 year-old vines. The wine ages in concrete vats in order to preserve fruit and freshness.

Moulin-à-Vent AOC celebrates its centenary in 2024: get more news here.

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Exceptional Beaujolais wines: the selection for the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest 2023

Concours Meilleur Sommelier 2023 Sélection des vins du Beaujolais

As partner of the Best Sommelier of the World contest, the Beaujolais vineyard will have the chance to present its exceptional cuvées. In Paris in February 2023, all international sommeliers will be able to taste these cuvées selected by a prestigious jury.

But how are these wines chosen? Let’s watch the video of this demanding tasting.

A jury of excellence to select 41 exceptional Beaujolais wines.

On the occasion of the partnership between Beaujolais wines and the Best Sommelier of the World contest 2023, three great French sommeliers were able to assess the finest cuvées of the vineyard. Among these exceptional wines, 41 will be presented to the best sommeliers on the planet during the competition week.

To find out more about the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest 2023, read the dedicated blog article.

In order to make this qualitative selection, three renowned sommeliers took part in the tasting exercise. Philippe Faure-Brac, Best Sommelier of the World 1992 and president of the Union of French Sommellery, Laurent Derhé, Best Artisan Sommelier of France 2007 and Gaëtan Bouvier, Best French Sommelier 2016 and Best Artisan Sommelier of France 2022.

“Today, the aim was to select typical wines from our wonderful Beaujolais vineyard, among gamays and chardonnays, in order to present them to the best sommeliers of the world and […] prove that this vineyard is a great vineyard.”

Laurent Derhé, Best Artisan Sommelier of France 2007

Video : the sommeliers express themselves on the selection of Beaujolais wines

This tasting took place in October 2022 at the Paul Bocuse Institute, in Ecully, Rhône, France. The Paul Bocuse Institute also hosts the restaurant Saisons* awarded by 1 Michelin star. The jurors first selected 40 bottles that will have the honor of being tasted by the elite of world sommelier. Then, they confessed their impressions in front of our cameras.

The sommeliers Philippe Faure-Brac, Laurent Derhé and Gaëtan Bouvier. They speak about their Beaujolais tastings for the Best Sommelier of the World contest 2023.

It was therefore a wonderful day of tasting and sommellerie held around Beaujolais wines. Another proof that those exceptional wines have their place on gastronomic tables around the world.

Beaujolais Wines, partner of the ASI Competition for the Best Sommelier of the World Paris 2023. Click here to learn more !

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2020 vintage in Beaujolais : the vintage of the decade

Carnet millésime 2020

The Beaujolais region has had many outstanding vintages in recent years, and 2020 was no exception. The success of this vintage is attributed to the exceptional conditions that have been offered to winemakers, allowing them to produce their signature wines.

Let’s dive into the factors that contributed to making 2020 the vintage of the decade for Beaujolais.

2020 : excellent weather conditions

The distinctive results of 2020 can be attributed to a range of factors, including the exceptional weather conditions that prevailed throughout the seasons. The year was characterized by dry and hot weather early on, which ensured optimal grape ripening and excellent vine health. Although there were occasional rains and temperature drops, these were timely and prevented overripe berries as well as significant yield reductions. Many Beaujolais producers agree that these very favorable conditions have produced great wines,

Gamay grape in summer
Gamay grape in summer – Beaujolais Wines / Etienne Ramousse

“Power, balance, freshness, fruitiness, roundness, and complexity… everything is there!”

Philippe Viet, winemaker in Régnié-Durette

2020 : ripeness, freshness and balance

Ripeness, freshness, and balance are the hallmarks of the 2020 vintage.

The warm temperatures allowed for beautiful ripening of the grapes and stems, providing winemakers with the opportunity to choose their preferred style, whether it be power or elegance.

Production methods were rethought which resulted in the discovery of wines with unique styles, offering new possibilities for gastronomic pairings. Cover crops, mulching, long macerations, low-temperature vinification, or extended aging were some of the techniques employed by winemakers to achieve their desired styles.

Although the alcohol concentration in this vintage is significant, it is beautifully balanced by the wines’ refreshing acidity. This harmony of sugars and acids results in a genuine balance that characterizes the wines of 2020.

2020 vintage : an expression of the Terroir

2020 wines express the terroir in a variety of profiles, depending on the specificities of their land. To learn more about the richness of Beaujolais soils, refer to the page The Beaujolais Vineyard, a Mosaic of Soils.

They gained power in some cases, taking on notes of black fruits, spices, and aromatic herbs from the south. In other cases, they are more delicate, revealing fresher, more lively aromas, and delicate tannins.

The aromatic profiles of the wines vary from one appellation to another, sometimes even from one plot to another, due to the extremely rich geology of the vineyard.

Rocks in Beaujolais
Rocks in Beaujolais – Floriane Tanneur / Beaujolais Wines

With their distinct characteristics and nuances, the 2020 wines exhibit a remarkable aging potential, ensuring they will endure the test of time.

The 2020 vintage is so particular that it got a dedicated booklet. Should you be curious to learn more, please refer to the detailed 2020 vintage report linked below.

Feel free to order the paper version of the 2020 vintage report on our online store.

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Best Sommelier of the World: contest in Paris in 2023

In February 2023, France will host the prestigious Best Sommelier of the World contest in Paris. Seventy candidates from around the world will compete in the major wine event! As an official partner of the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest Paris 2023, Beaujolais Wines are proud to introduce you to this legendary contest!

A longstanding contest for sommeliers from the world over

Every three years since 1969, the ASI (Association de Sommellerie Internationale) has been in charge of organising the contest. For that matter, this worldwide contest is the most prestigious in the realm of sommellerie. So it is no coincidence that the World’s Best Sommelier title is coveted by all highly-regarded sommeliers!

Back in 1989, France hosted the contest for the first and only time. Now, thirty-four years later, the UDSF (Union de la Sommellerie Française) has the privilege of hosting the event in France again. That’s why, in 2023, the organisers intend to give it their all to make the major contest truly unforgettable.

Winners since the initial contest

  • 1969: Armand Melkonian (French)
  • 1971: Piero Sattanino (Italian)
  • 1978: Guiseppe Vaccarini (Italian)
  • 1983: Jean-Luc Pouteau (French)
  • 1986: Jean-Claude Jambon (French)
  • 1989: Serge Dubs (French)
  • 1992: Philippe Faure-Brac (French)
  • 1995: Shinya Tasaki (Japanese)
  • 1998: Markus Del Monego (German)
  • 2000: Olivier Poussier (French)
  • 2004: Enrico Bernardo (Italian)
  • 2007: Andreas Larsson (Swedish)
  • 2010: Gérard Basset (French on behalf of Great Britain)
  • 2013: Paolo Basso (Swiss)
  • 2016: Jon Arvid Rosengren (Swedish)
  • 2019: Marc Almert (German)
Insigne des sommeliers français (UDSF)
Insigne des sommeliers français (UDSF)

And this year, Pascaline Lepeltier, with Benjamin Roffet as her substitute, has qualified to represent France. As the Best Sommelier of France 2018, she currently works as a sommelier at Chambers restaurant in Manhattan (New York). At the same time, she not only visits the vineyards as often as possible, but is also an author: her first work, Mille Vignes (A Thousand Vines), was published in 2022.

The Best Sommelier of the World contest: how it works

The contest will take place at the Hotel Pullman Montparnasse in Paris from 7 to 12 February 2023. However, the grand finale will be held at the Défense Arena. It is expected to be quite a show for the 3500 people in attendance.

The week-long contestschedule is made up of three competitions, including theoretical questionnaires and blind tasting tests. The quarter-final, on Wednesday and Thursday, 8-9 February, then the semi-final on Friday, 10 February and lastly, the final on Sunday, 12 February. Attending the final is open to wine professionals as well as connoisseurs and the simply curious.

Between the competitions, sommeliers and journalists will take part in several master classes on topics organised by partner vineyards. The Beaujolais vineyards will present, among other topics, its multiple terroirs and the impact of the latter on wine profiles.

Logo Concours ASI Meilleur Sommelier du Monde

This is an opportunity to “showcase France, make Paris shine and promote our restaurant industry, sommellerie, vineyards and winegrowers.”

Philippe Faure-Brac, Best Sommelier of the World 1992

“The event will have a triple impact”, as UDSF President Philippe Faure-Brac explained: “showcase France, make Paris shine and promote our restaurant industry, sommellerie, vineyards and winegrowers, in real life, of course, but also online.”

What a great aim for the 2023 French event, which will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on the international history of wine!

Beaujolais Wines, an official partner of the ASI Best Sommelier of the World Paris 2023 contest: click here to find out more!

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Chateau life in the Beaujolais region

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.

Prestigious wines

© Jean-Luc Mege Photographie

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.

Enigmatic wines

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.

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Get together with à Bistrots Beaujolais Chef : L’échanson


A few words about the restaurant

In Clochemerle (or Vaux-en-Beaujolais…) people come to discover the site that inspired Gabriel Chevalier as well as Romain and Delphine Barthe’s wonderful gourmet restaurant L’auberge de Clochemerle. As in every village, things tend to change, and one day the couple heard the former town hall was looking for a new purpose in life! The restaurant owners took the challenge and opened L’Echanson, putting Baptiste Fernandez in charge.

The only obligation mandated by the Town Hall: preserve regional native Allain Renoux’s frescoes that adorn the former wedding hall. Delphine and Romain also decided to keep the period tiles intact, whose design inspired their logo.

The idea: a chic, friendly restaurant with a focus on the village, local products and a wine list solely devoted to Beaujolais wines – all appellations – and different growers every month.

© Anne D photographie

A words about you

Baptiste is a local, like the produce. “Together, Romain and I serve dishes made with excellent local produce, in a laid-back, generous and welcoming atmosphere. Here, friendliness is in the dish as well as in the atmosphere. It isn’t uncommon to see tables of 2 that become tables of 4, 6 or 10 as the meal and conversations with nearby tables progress. Our signature dish ‘La Potence’ is one of the best examples of that.”

An anecdote (or two) from behind the scenes

“At the end of a midday meal, a couple of tourists were undecided about what to taste next. They still had a little room for…. a savoury surprise! Yes, a surprise, since even though the cheese platter was wonderfully stocked with local produce, the tourists felt like something else. A challenge that Baptiste was delighted to take up. He whipped up some faisselle cheese seasoned with mustard powder, Sichuan pepper and chopped flat-leaf parsley… Surprised and enchanted, those two tourists returned the very same evening. For that matter, they come back regularly every time they’re in the area.”

Anne D photographie

A signature dish 

“Without a doubt ‘La Potence’ is our convivial signature dish that brings out the friendliness and originality in the tradition. The beef from the Saint-Etienne-des-Oullières butcher shop is flambéed with Beaujolais marc.

And our signature dessert is the ‘Dariole au chocolat’, a chocolate fondant that Romain learned how to make when he was working at Trois Gros.”

A beaujolais wine-and-food pairing

“An andouillette sausage from Braillon’s (Villefranche-sur-Saône), made exclusively of calf’s ruffle and accompanied by young vegetables with a Moulin-à-vent wine from David Large’s Lieu-dit Rochenoire; an easy-to-drink, fruity cuvée that’s not too tannic to enhance the grilled taste of the andouillette.”

One of your “favourite” winegrowers and why

“One? No, several. Every month a different one. In July, it’ll be David Large. He, the chef and I are all practically the same age. He’s a good friend who shares my values. As neighbours, since David lives a stone’s throw from the restaurant, we like to talk about Beaujolais wines, his vintages and reinventing the world… but I’m also really fond of the vintages produced by Yannick de Vermont (Château de Vaux) and Jean Luc Longère (Domaine Longère), to name but a few.”

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Get together with a Bistrot Beaujolais chef : Le substrat

A few words about your restaurant

From his restaurant Substrat located in Lyon’s Croix Rousse neighbourhood to Food Traboule and including his So6 La Saucissonerie, Hubert Vergoin showcases all his creativity, passion and touch of madness. As a sommelier, he personally knows all the winemakers on his wine list. As a chef, he enhances the freshly-picked produce to serve up plates full of colours, flavours and surprises. At Substrat – his neo-bistro housed in a former artisan’s workshop in Croix Rousse – the charm works: the venue, the dishes created from scratch and the wines, very often from local growers, enchant diners. At So6 La Saucissonerie, typical brasserie cuisine is what makes the place tick. Two venues, two atmospheres, but the spirit of sharing is ever-present, with a focus on Beaujolais wines. Hubert Vergoin is one of our award winners of the year!

A few words about you

“After training as a sommelier, I began my career at Chez Monsieur Paul at L’Auberge, as an apprentice. Next I worked as a sommelier in a wine shop and wine bar in the south and in Lyon until 2008. After that, I opened my first business, a cave à manger sandwich shop in Tassin-la-Demi-Lune and the restaurant Substrat on Thursday, November 21, 2013 just in time for the Beaujolais Nouveau festivities!”

A few words about your restaurant

“Substrat is in line with the neo-bistro style, with easy-drinking wines and freshly-picked produce… inspirational cuisine based on herbs, mushrooms and garden veggies.”

An anecdote (or two) from behind the scenes

“When the restaurant first opened, the desserts weren’t quite up to par. We worked hard to make them stand out, especially the ice cream that I love: I wanted to make chef desserts with homemade ice cream in original flavours, for example: a slice of gingerbread topped with cep ice cream, olive oil ice cream served on a white chocolate biscuit, or fresh strawberries served with sheep’s cheese ice cream… One day, a customer asked if we could ‘just’ serve him a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. I think he thought we had a freezer full of ice cream flavours. We even offered to serve him a bit of whipped cream with it, before politely telling him no way!”

A beaujolais wine-and-food pairing

“A surprising food and wine pairing is with oysters and a Fleurie wine, for example!” 

Why are you so attached to the Beaujolais region?

“Gamay runs in my blood! It’s like the Rhône and Saône rivers… I like the very Gallic side of this region and also its genuine organic-nature avant-garde approach.” (an avant-gardist approach, a new generation)

One of your “favourite” winegrowers and why

“Julien Sunier. He’s a friend. We started out together in 2008.”

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Get together with a Bistrot Beaujolais chef : Le Mordant


The 10th arrondissement of Paris is where the Le Mordant (which translates loosely as ‘The Bite’) ‘bares its fangs’ and serves refined, attractive dishes. All the produce is meticulously selected at the producers. We’re here to provide a colourful, appealing cuisine with a spirit of sharing. At times traditional and at times exotic, the dishes get inspiration from countless places, taking diners far from their day-to-day routine as they eat.

a few words about you

Lucas Blanchy has been in the restaurant business for nearly 20 years. After spending time as a chef in restaurants like Georges V or Jules Vernes, Le Mordant is his first creation! Besides being an excellent chef, he is also an outstanding sommelier, fond of the terroir and fresh produce. With a leaning towards organic and biodynamics, he has developed a soft spot for natural wines. But for him, what’s important is “listening to the winegrower who is a purveyor of emotions, the wines are chosen to faithfully transpose what the grower has done with respect.”

a few words about the restaurant

“Before the restaurant was created here, there was a supermarket! So we had to rethink the decoration, now designed by the architect Lucie Lepage-Depreux. At Le Mordant, we strongly believe in recurring dishes, tow which the team’s ideas and cravings are added. The heart of the cuisine is to work with fresh, traceable produce. Traditional recipes are reinvented with a twist and daring seasonings, to bring the classics back into fashion. Like the standard ‘egg and mayo’ now infused with black tea and its wasabi mayonnaise.”

A signature dish

“The ‘avocado and beef tataki with a zest of lemon’. The chunks of tender beef are marinated in soy sauce, with kefir lemon and other secret ingredients. They are grilled then marinated again for 24 hours.”

A Beaujolais wine-and-food pairing


“Daddy Roger pork ribs – a recipe that’s a tribute to a friend’s American father. They pair perfectly with the Juliénas wine from the Domaine des Marrans. It’s an easy-to-drink wine that goes very well with the smoky taste in the barbecue sauce and the rather fatty piece of meat.”

One of your “favourite” winegrowers and why

“Jean-Claude Lapalu, who I’ve known since my training as a sommelier. I was taken with his ‘Eau Forte’ cuvée! He makes wines that provide lots of emotion and he’s amazing. He tells the story of the terroir and the Beaujolais through his wines.”

Why are you so attached to the Beaujolais region?

“I discovered the region when I was training to become a sommelier. I loved the Gamay grape variety and fell in love with the terroir and the diversity between the different appellations. They each have their unique typicities and every tasting has a nice surprise in store. I have my heart set on introducing others to the wines of this region. So it makes sense to be listed as a Bistrot Beaujolais and it lets me fly the Beaujolais flag high.”

An anecdote (or two) from behind the scenes

“Our customers are fairly traditional in their approach to wines so I like guiding them towards appellations that aren’t quite as well known, getting them to do blind tastings to overcome their biases, and introducing them to the real Beaujolais.

One day I recommended a Beaujolais to a customer; but he wouldn’t have any of it. As a risk-taker I decided to bring him and his guests wine by the glass. The whole table agreed: they loved it! Then I told them what I had served them… a Beaujolais! They were surprised but keep coming back for more now.

I also love keeping Jean-Claude Lapalu’s Beaujolais Nouveau on hand, and serving it year round to my customers, to surprise them.”

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Beaujolais, accessible wines

Are you a wine enthusiast or maybe just an enthusiastic wine drinker who wants to learn the art of wine tasting? Beaujolais are just the wines for you. The Gamay grape variety is expressed in 12 appellations in red and 2 in rosé. Same goes for the Chardonnay variety that comes in Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages white. Now that’s a winegrowing region that definitely knows how to make itself accessible!

A glassful of AOCs

Beaujolais stands out from other French vineyards thanks to the readability that characterizes its appellations. No need to remember dozens of names: Beaujolais covers just 12 AOCs. So, perfecting your knowledge of Beaujolais wines is a real pleasure.

You then need to get to know all the grape varieties and once again Beaujolais is different from the others. All the wines are made from a single variety: Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc for reds and rosés and Chardonnay for whites. Very easy to remember… After that, you move on to the next level! Morgon Côte du Py, Moulin-à-Vent Rochenoire or Fleurie

Grille-Midi: all these names prefigured by a Beaujolais appellation are in fact what are called lieux-dits, or localities. Quite often, you’ll find them on the labels of great vintages produced on the most renowned terroirs of Beaujolais growers. That in-depth knowledge of Beaujolais soils, and the winegrowers who enhance the specificities of each terroir allow exceptional Beaujolais wines to come into being. Complex wines – endowed with a great potential for ageing – to be readily shared with great friends.

A mouthful of knowledge

Often without really realizing it, people’s first introduction to the world of Beaujolais wines and perhaps wines in general, is through Beaujolais Nouveaux. Even though it’s an easy-drinking, party wine, these primeur or young wines are nevertheless fine representatives of the new vintage, and joyous precursors of the year’s Gamay character. An ideal introduction to the Beaujolais spirit!

To understand the other Beaujolais wines, you have to learn how to grasp their nuances: Morgon, Fleurie, Beaujolais-Villages, Chiroubles and Brouilly have certain similarities, but also their own personalities. Because although there is only a limited number of appellations in the Beaujolais, the wines have a range of aromas and distinct characters! There are even specific terms used to refer to particular Beaujolais wines such as “morgonner”, for example.

As your introduction to Beaujolais wines progresses, you’ll start to appreciate the structures of each appellation and understand the strengths of each terroir. In fact, which other winegrowing region pays tribute to its lieux-dits through its wine better than the Beaujolais? With a single grape variety for every color, the terroir can fully express itself thanks to the knowledge and skills of the growers.

A bottleful of training

A good knowledge of wines comes with time and over many tasting sessions. And Beaujolais wines are no exception to the rule. Take advantage of every possible occasion to open a bottle, for drinks with friends, a business lunch, a dinner party, a romantic dinner or just for the pleasure of it. Have fun trying to pick out the right bottle for each occasion to surprise and delight your friends. There is bound to be a Beaujolais to suit every occasion, it’s just a question of looking for it.

Your favorite wine merchant will always be on hand to advise and help you. But why don’t you also try looking for the information at the source? Plan a relaxing break in the Beaujolais region to take a leisurely trip along the Wine Route, visiting cellars, trying out the wines (in moderation of course!) and talking to growers so that you can take home great memories and plenty of new ideas.

And carry on enjoying the experience all year round. Take back with you 2 or 3 bottles of each appellation to store in your cellar. Then see how your taste buds gradually evolve until you can recognize a particular Beaujolais, or even every single appellation, with your eyes closed… Well, in a manner of speaking because of course the eye is the first sense to click in when you try a wine. And Beaujolais wines have a wonderful palette of ruby red colors ranging from clear, intense and deep to garnet hues…

Any introduction to wine tasting in general and to Beaujolais in particular takes time. You get to know Beaujolais wines progressively: there are the simple, uncomplicated Beaujolais Nouveaux wines to indulge in almost as soon as they are produced in the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages winegrowing areas and then there are the 10 more complex and refined crus. Give it a go!

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Heroic Beaujolais vines!

Have you ever noticed the vines tumbling down the Beaujolais hillsides? These exceptional landscapes not only give the region its own unique charm but have also led to this very Beaujolais idea of “heroic wine growing.” Why “heroic” Because you need to be pretty brave to work on these slopes. As the winegrowers themselves say, it’s hard work but it’s fascinating. Once you’ve read this article, you’ll never again see Beaujolais vines in the same light.

Who ever thought of growing wines on slopes?

Beaujolais landscapes are instantly recognizable by their vines planted in perfect rows across the contour lines of hills. You’re probably wondering how winegrowers here got the idea of growing vines on hillsides. Well it’s quite simply because the lie of the land affects the growth of grapes in more than one way!

Firstly, the upper ground has more sunlight than the plain down below. The sun’s rays have fewer obstacles to overcome and can reach the vines directly. And vines love the sun! The warmth creates a good balance between the sweetness and acidity in grapes, which produces wines that are gentle but also very tasty.

But that’s not the only reason why winegrowers brave the sometimes very steep gradients in the Beaujolais region. Water streaming down the slopes is also very advantageous for the grapes. The water doesn’t have time to soak into the ground, it simply runs off down to the bottom of the slope. So the fruit gets just the right amount of water.

This is ideal, because too much water damages the vines. It increases the risk of disease, makes pest control treatment less efficient and prevents the grapes from fully soaking up the flavors of the terroir. The heroism of the vine stock therefore protects them and ensures optimal growth.

Meticulous work so that the heroic vines can give of their best

Winegrowers in the Beaujolais region are brave, daring and tenacious. All work in the vines from September to August has to be done manually, as the winegrowers work gradually across one plot of land to another. Except during the harvest, the winegrower does all this work on own: pruning, disbudding, tying, weeding, hoeing… He creates the best conditions for the grapes to flourish on these difficult slopes. The winegrowers themselves are also heroic!

The “heroic wine growing” label

The hillside rows of vines cover the Beaujolais mountains at an average altitude of 300 metres, with peaks culminating at over 600 metres. The Beaujolais vineyard is a member of CERVIM (Centre for

Research, Environmental Sustainability and Advancement of Mountain Viticulture), alongside other vineyards in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region like Côte-Rôtie as well as the Banyuls-Collioure, Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Douro and other wine regions around the world. This type of winegrowing, practised at over 500 metres in altitude or on inclines over 30% (thresholds defined by CERVIM) is characterised as ‘heroic’ viticulture due to the human involvement and effort imposed by the difficulty of the mountain environment. The challenges are threefold: cultural, ecological and geographical. Here, the grower’s work is glorified. There are 8,900 plots on ‘extreme slopes’ (over 30%), which account for nearly 3,000 hectares in all. Quincié-en-Beaujolais is the steepest village where more than 90 hectares are on slopes with inclines over 30%, and Chiroubles which produces crus, has nearly 60 hectares on steep inclines.

Now that you know more about the conditions under which Beaujolais wines are grown, you’ll surely spare a thought for these extreme winegrowers next time you raise a glass of Beaujolais wine!