White wine: it’s one of the Beaujolais region’s little-known gems

Chardonnay is the most widely planted white grape variety worldwide. On Beaujolais terroirs, Chardonnay grapes reveal lovely expressions. The variety grows in the far north of the vineyard, bordering on the Mâcon region and to the southwest of Villefranche-sur-Saône. It grows in a triangle-shaped area of land between Liergues, Le Bois d’Oingt and Bully. In the heart of the Beaujolais appellations, chardonnay now accounts for 2% of the vineyard. More and more winegrowers produce white wines given how much they please the taste buds. 

Chardonnay bunches are made up of small, plump berries with delicate white skin that turns golden when ripe. The vineyard’s wide range of soils provides the variety with the capacity to express all its wealth and complexity. It thrives best on chalky or marly soils. Land that is fairly infertile is consequently its environment of choice. In temperate zones, like the Beaujolais region, it produces supple, fleshy wines with aromas of citrus or white fruit such as peach.

At the winery, chardonnay grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive and then ferment for about two weeks in vats, barrels or casks. Ageing on lees is frequent. Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages whites offer balanced wines that are refreshing, round and full of finesse. Beaujolais whites are a pretty golden colour, full-bodied with aromas of citrus and white flesh fruits, and a pleasant finish. Beaujolais-Villages whites stand out for their floral and mineral notes, as well as their nice aromatic intensity. Some wines can be cellared a few years to express their complexity and intensity.

En cave, le chardonnay est pressuré dès son arrivée et fermente ensuite pendant une quinzaine de jours en cuve, en fût ou en foudre. Les élevages sur lies sont fréquents. Les Beaujolais et Beaujolais-Villages blancs offrent des vins équilibrés avec fraîcheur, rondeur et finesse. Les Beaujolais blancs sont dotés d’une belle robe dorée et sont amples, aux arômes de fruits à chair blanche et d’agrume, avec une finale agréable. Les Beaujolais-Villages blancs se distinguent quant à eux par leurs notes florales, minérales, et leur belle intensité aromatique. Certains vins peuvent vieillir quelques années en cave pour exprimer leur complexité et leur intensité.