Very well known for its famous Beaujolais Nouveau, the Beaujolais wine region is often underestimated. Well beyond this mythical, but improperly qualitative wine, with the famous "banana taste", the Beaujolais vineyards also produce fruity wines full of elegance. the Berne Castle starts to the Discovery of Beaujolais and his vines.
The story of the Beaujolais vineyard
As in most wine regions of France, the Beaujolais vineyard was born during the conquest of Gaul by the Romans. From 59 BC, we then find the first traces of the Beaujolaise viticulture. It must be said that his situation, at the heart of communication axes, has greatly contributed to the development of vines and the export of wines.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the monks of the Middle Ages that resumed the Vine culture in Beaujolais, which has made it possible to intensify agricultural activity and give birth to new vineyards.
The arrival of the railroad in the 19th century, made known the Beaujolais wine, which now travels to Paris, where the freshness of this "new" wine seduces a lot. And despite the phylloxera crisis, the vineyards could be saved thanks to the transplant of American plants, and continue to grow to become the Beaujolais vineyard that we know today.
The reputation of the wine region is somewhat tarnished by the Beaujolais Nouveau And low -qualitative wines from high performance vineyards, but viticulture is experiencing many mutations, and winegrowers are now focusing on the production of quality wines, rather than quantity.
The geography of the Beaujolais vineyard
Located between the two major wine regions of Burgundy and Rhône, the Beaujolais vineyard Includes 23,000 hectares of vines, on an area 55 km long and 22 km wide.
In the north of Beaujolais, we find the greatest vintages, cultivated on granite soils which are called "flower granite". In the south, the floors are made up of shale, while in the center, in the region of golden stones, it is rather limestone soils that benefit the vineyard.
On the climate side, Beaujolais has very hot summers, thanks to the influences of the Mediterranean climate, but an average temperature of 11 ° C, thanks to the influences of the semi-continental climate and the ocean climate.
The grape varieties in Beaujolais
Beaujolais concentrates almost all of its vines to two major grape varieties :
- the black gamay (97 % of the Beaujolais vineyard), a red grape which allows to give fruity and spicy red wines, and very fragrant pink wines;
- the Chardonnay, a more confidential white grape, which allows the product of white wines and effervescent wines. Its expression varies greatly according to the terroir, which allows it to offer very varied white wines.
Other grape varieties are allowed in Beaujolais, but remain very rare: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, white melon and white aligoté.
The appellations of the Beaujolais wine region
The Beaujolais wines stand out by 3 different types of appellations.
This appellation is the largest in the region and concerns no less than 96 villages, most of them on the southern part of the vineyard. There is a great diversity of wine quality in AOP Beaujolais. Heterogeneity that is essentially owed to the different terroirs, which make the ripening of the grapes more or less complex.
The Beaujolais Villages AOC
This appellation generally offers more qualitative wines than theBeaujolais AOC. It concerns wines from 38 villages. Among them, 30 have the right to show the name of their village on the label of the wine bottle. The majority of wines in AOC Beaujolais Villages come from vines cultivated on schist or granite soil, thus offering characteristic mineral notes.
The Beaujolais Crus
In the north of Beaujolais, there are also 10 Beaujolais raw In red wine:
- L'AOC Saint-Amour, with on the one hand, a fruity and light wine, and on the other hand, a spicy wine
- L'AOC Juliénas, with fruity and floral red wines;
- L'AOC Chenas, with rarer, wooded, floral and silky wines;
- L'AOC Moulin-à-Vent, the "King of Beaujolais", with tannic and complex wines;
- L'Fleurie AOC ; The "Queen of Beaujolais", with aromatic and light red wines;
- L'AOC Chiroubles, with a fresh red wine;
- L'AOC Morgon, with a wine of guard at the aromas of red fruits and fishing;
- L'Régnié AOC, with a young drinking wine, with notes of raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant;
- L'AOC Brouilly, with a southern red wine to drink young;
- L'AOC Côtes de Brouilly, with a mineral red wine.
Along the Rhône valley to discover the local vineyards, and stop for a few moments in the Beaujolais wine region, to savor the great diversity of vineyards and wines.