Third stop of our trip in the French vineyards: Beaujolais! Known for its Beaujolais Nouveau drunk with friends accompanied by Lyon cold meats, the vineyard owns wines such as Brouilly, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent. Discover the passion of the winemakers producing extraordinary wines…
How well do you know the vineyard of Beaujolais?
Located on two departments (Rhône and Saône-et-Loire), the vineyard has a surface area of 19,000 hectares of AOC vines.
The vines are planted on clay-limestone and granite soils, and benefit from a temperate and oceanic climate, giving wine its rare typicity. Wine is only produced with 2 grape varieties: Gamay for red and rosé wine and Chardonnay for white wine.
A few numbers:
- There are around 3,000 wineries and 18 cooperatives
- The distribution of production is 95% red and rosé wine and 5% dry white wine
- Every year, the vineyard produces around 1 million hectolitres of wine
The vineyard has 12 AOC and 2 IGP:
- AOC: Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié, and Saint-Amour
- IGP: Comtés Rhodaniens and Saône-et-Loire
Nothing better than drinking a good wine surrounded by vines! With its 55km long and 22km wide, the vineyard is full of little rivers. Its relief is remarkable with numerous hills and slopes between 200 and 500m altitude on which vines are planted.
Beaujolais Nouveau: what is it?
Once a year during the 3rd week of November, wine merchants announce the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. In 1951, the Union Viticole du Beaujolais (wine union of Beaujolais) has been authorized to sell its vins de primeur (wines from the year’s harvest). That is the origin of the appellation and now they can sell before the 15th of December, which was forbidden in the past.
These wines do not macerate during a very long time, around ten days, and are sold two months after the harvest! Made from gamay noir, the wine has red fruit and flower aromas: that is a very festive and easy to taste wine.
Beaujolais Nouveau represents one third of the total production of the vineyard, representing 55 million bottles every year. However, no other region in the world can sell so many bottles in such a short period of time. The arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated worldwide and represents a tradition even for other countries, such as Japan where it is tasted first.
What wine and food pairings?
After a presentation of the vineyard, here are the courses you can eat while tasting the said wines…
Do you want some seafood? You can serve a white Beaujolais with it, it will perfectly bring out the iodized aromas of seafood.
- You are more of a cold cuts person? Then we recommend a red Beaujolais Nouveau or a Brouilly (red) which will bring out all the flavour of the charcuterie thanks to their fruity aromas.
- A Beaujolais Villages rosé or white will go very well with fish, all in suppleness and fruit.
- To accompany red meat, we recommend a Moulin-à-Vent. This full-bodied wine will go very well with a filet of beef bleeding in its own juice.
- A red Beaujolais Villages is one of the best allies of your salads with its tenderness and roundness!
- For a creamy cheese, choose a Fleurie or a Juliénas (red): fruity, round and spicy, they go perfectly with the creamy side of Brie or Camembert.
- For a hard cheese, serve a Beaujolais Nouveau rosé or red: its refreshing fruit and unbeatable roundness will give a superb taste to your cheeses.
- With your desserts based on red fruits, you can enjoy a Saint-Amour (red). Gourmet and dashing wine, the fruits will be sublimated in the mouth.
- For chocolate desserts, serve a Morgon (red): with aromas of ripe red fruits, flowers and sweet spices, you will be amazed!
How to visit Beaujolais?
After making your mouth water, are you willing to visit the vineyard?
Conviviality in the Beaujolais is a real art of living. The professionals of the wine sector perpetuate this tradition by welcoming their visitors as well as possible: the recipe works because they are all conquered by the “Beaujonomie”!
Open all year round, you can take part in various festive events such as the Beaujolais Crus festival in spring, gourmet hikes in summer, as well as the Juliénales, or the Sarmentelles in November.
The estates will take great care of you: visits of the vines and the cellar, private booking, accommodation in the heart of the vineyard, specific workshops… Moreover, most of them comply with the charter “Beaujolais : une terre, des vins, un accueil privilégié” (Beaujolais: a land, wines, a privileged welcome)!
Enjoy the Beaujolais friendliness yourself by going directly to their vineyards!