The future is bright for Beaujolais and its wines

Just south of super-expensive Burgundy lays hilly Beaujolais with steep vineyards where the Gamay grape reigns supreme. You may be familiar with the deliciously fruit-driven red, perfect for a light lunchtime drink and it pairs perfectly with mezze platters and sharing boards. If you prefer a lighter style of red, Beaujolais is a great one to try, tannins are soft and ripe strawberry notes are guaranteed. Aside from reds, the region also produces some striking rosé and few producers have also been known to make whites from Chardonnay grapes too.

Beaujolais can produce a diverse range of styles from fun and fruity Festive wines, Expressive characterful wines offering great quality and value, through to Exceptional wines which are more complex and terroir driven.

Terroir is how the regions natural environment which includes the soil, climate and terrain affect the taste of a wine.

The future is bright for the French unsung hero. But don’t just take our word for it, we’ve caught up with some of our producers over in Beaujolais to tell you more about their wines …

Maison Dominique Piron

Rooted in the heart of Beaujolais with history dating back to 1590, Maison Dominique Piron vinify around 50 hectares among the best terroirs of the region. Julien Revillon has now taken the reigns. Before joining, Julien worked for ten years in the Rhône Valley. His wish was to return to his home terroir. Julien wishes to continue the history, producing fruity wines that are suitable for ageing and showcasing that Beaujolais can produce great wines.

The Wine

Maison Dominique Piron Chénas – £14.99 a bottle

“Chénas is the smallest Beaujolais Cru. The slopes are composed of granite and quartz, with an average altitude of 380 metres. The vineyards are very steep, as steep as Côte Rôtie slopes in the northern Rhône, making the vineyards challenging to cultivate. The terroir is also very rocky, poor, acidic and minerally which gives great complexity and length to the wine. Maison Dominique Piron Chénas is considered as an ‘Exceptional Beaujolais’. Its structure and strength make it a more complex wine which reflects its terroir.”

Maison Dominique Piron Beaujolais-Villages – £12.99 a bottle

“Beaujolais Villages is a wine gathering the best villages of the appellation. The soil is composed of granite and sand with small stones that capture the heat of the sun during the night. Our Beaujolais Villages comes from different villages not far from the Cru region. After the harvest, the fermentation lasts about ten days maximum to keep the freshness. 2020 is very rich and smooth with exceptional potential!

This is an example of an ‘Expressive Beaujolais’. It is an easy to drink wine thanks to its lightness and fruity character.”

What do you think the future for Beaujolais wines and the region are?

“People today are looking for more accessible wines. They want fresh, fruity and aromatic wines … totally the case for Beaujolais wines!”

Vignerons de Bel Air

Vignerons de Bel Air was created by a small group of growers in 1929, coming together to face the great depression. They wanted to combine their experiences and knowledge to be able to produce the best possible wines from their vineyards. From an initial 15 growers there are today 310, producing a full range from wines.

What makes the Beaujolais wine region so special? 

“Some describe Beaujolais as ‘the French Tuscany’. The region is wonderful in terms of landscape. Rolling hills filled with well-trained vineyards and small, picturesque villages. What is amazing in Beaujolais is that all wines are produced from a single varietal -the Gamay grape, but diversity comes from the soil, altitude and the exposure to the sun.”

The Wine

Vignerons De Bel Air Chiroubles – £14.49 a bottle

“Chiroubles is one of the smallest appellations of the Beaujolais Cru. It is also the Cru with the highest altitude.
Vignerons De Bel Air Chiroubles is an Expressive Beaujolais, this is because the terroir is so unique. It is the only Cru with 100% granite soils, making soft and elegant wines. Wines show delicate floral aromas with refreshing acidity. A prefect wine for light dinners, pasta, salads or even desserts such as lemon or apricot tart.”

Vignerons De Bel Air Morgon – £14.49 a bottle

“Morgon is one of the best-known Beaujolais Cru. The soil, a mix of schist, manganese with oxidised iron influence, enables the wines to gain that extra layer of structure and strength. It is the only Beaujolais Cru where different climates have been recognised like in Burgundy. Morgon’s ability to age offers a new way to discover Beaujolais. Our Morgon is from the famous hill ‘Le PY’, an old Volcano – offering structure with cherry, blackcurrant, liquorice, and pepper.  Perfect with rich, fine foods such as game or meat with rich sauces, or with more spicy food like curry.”

 What do you think the future for Beaujolais wines and the region are?

“One of the advantages for Beaujolais is that consumers are now looking for lighter styles of wine.
You do not need to be an expert to enjoy your first glass of Beaujolais wine, but with time and experience you will discover all the various layers of complexity that Beaujolais can offer. We have also started to attract younger winegrowers. Those new growers are more adventurous which will help open new horizons for the region.”

Cave du Château des Loges

The cellar is located in ‘Le Perréon’, in the centre of the Beaujolais region. Founded in 1960, the Cave du Château des Loges has 450 hectares and 150 winegrowers. In 1958 several winegrower families acquired the Château with hope to restore its prestige, thus creating one of the most important wineries of the region. Since 2018, winegrowers have been committed to High Environmental Value certification (HVE) in order to strengthen the promotion of more responsible production in harmony with nature.

What Makes the Beaujolais wine region so special? 

“Beaujolais is a heroic vineyard. The hillside rows of vines cover the Beaujolais mountains at an average altitude of 300 metres, with peaks culminating at over 600 metres.”

The Wine

Premier Bain Beaujolais Rosé – £10.49 a bottle

“Premier Bain Beaujolais Rosé is made from 100% Gamay. Grapes are hand-picked from vineyards with sandy-granitic and clay-limestone soils. Fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness of the fruit. It’s a salmon-pink colour with delicate red fruit aromas. Crisp and fresh the wine is best served chilled at 11°C as an aperitif or with risotto, or even a fruit salad.

These wines are ‘Expressive’ Beaujolais, showing the style of Beaujolais Rosé characterised by its terroir.”

What do you think the future for Beaujolais wines and the region are?

“Climate change will allow Gamay to show further potential with ripe reds and appealing rosé wines. Plot selections, climates classification, studies into the richness of its soils, as well as biodiversity protection will be the future for Beaujolais.”

Vignerons des Pierres Dorées

Beaujolais specialists since 1959, the Vignerons des Pierres Dorées are in the heart of the region. The success of the wines is the result of collective work and exceptional vinification by talented winemaker Michaël LaChaud.

Cuvée des Pierres Bleues – £12.99 a bottle

“The terroirs of the Vignerons des Pierres Dorées contain real gems. In order to showcase their individuality, these are vinified in respect of each terroir. Blue stones give depth and complexity to the wine, making it smoky and salty. The wine is an intense ruby colour, subtle and concentrated, with red fruit and delicate fragrances of wildflowers and spices. Best served around 13°C, it pairs perfectly with beef dishes, poultry, or even a pizza. As an Expressive Beaujolais, the wine is characterised by the unique terroir of the region and its soils.” 

What do you think the future for Beaujolais wines and the region are?

“Looking back to our roots with traditional Beaujolais, carbonic maceration winemaking will be important for the future of Beaujolais, as well as adapting wines to our soils, like we see with the climates from Burgundy.”

Cheers to the exciting future for Beaujolais wines. We can’t wait to try the wines from the region in the year to come. Shop our full range of Beaujolais here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s