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Located north of Lyon the Beaujolais wine region covers 18,000 Hectares of vines and many growers between Northern Rhone and Southern Burgundy. According to the French land registry Beaujolais belongs to the Burgundy region however, Beaujolais deserves to stand alone its wines are very different from those in the rest of Burgundy with a climate which shares similarity with Rhone and is home to Gamay and Chardonnay.
There are 3 classifications; Beaujolais AOC – Grapes for these wines can come from anywhere within the borders of Beaujolais. This area encompasses all 60 Beaujolais villages and refers to all basic Beaujolais wines. They are easy crowd pleasers that appeal to a wide range of wine drinkers. Beaujolais-Villages – Village-level wines must be grown in one of 39 specific villages in the Haut-Beaujolais that have historically produced a higher quality of wine. Cru Beaujolais – There are 10 defined Crus (vineyards) in Beaujolais, all of which are located in the northern section of Beaujolais, where the soil is predominately comprised of granite. The 10 Crus are Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Morgon, Chénas, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Juliénas, Moulin à Vent, Régnié and Saint Amour.
The quality of Beaujolais’ granite soils has also been spotted by famous names from Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, who are heading south in their droves in the search for new vineyards and projects without the northern price tags.
So, our suggestion? Seek out the Crus Beaujolais for their style, diversity, complexity, aging potential and high quality to value. Cru Beaujolais are, quite simply, not what most people think when they think of Beaujolais!