A Deep-Dive into the Wines of Beaujolais: Unearthing the Hidden Gems of France’s Wine Country

Beaujolais, a region located in the eastern-central part of France, just south of Burgundy, has long been overshadowed by its more famous neighbor. However, this hidden gem of France’s wine country boasts an impressive range of wines that are worth exploring. In this deep-dive, we’ll take a closer look at the history, appellations, grape varieties, and winemaking techniques that make Beaujolais wines truly unique.

History of Beaujolais

The history of winemaking in Beaujolais dates back to the Roman Empire. The region really began to thrive during the Middle Ages, particularly under the influence of the powerful Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries. In the 19th century, the construction of the railroad connecting Paris to Lyon bolstered the region’s wine production, allowing Beaujolais wines to reach a wider audience.

Grape Varieties

Beaujolais is primarily known for one red grape variety, Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc, or simply Gamay. This grape is the backbone of the region’s red wines, providing fruity, light-bodied, and low-tannin wines that are highly versatile and food-friendly. A small percentage of white and rosé wines are also produced in the region, primarily from Chardonnay and Gamay respectively.

Winemaking Techniques

Beaujolais wines are unique not only for their grape variety but also for their winemaking process. The traditional method used in the region is known as “carbonic maceration,” a technique that emphasizes the fruity and fresh characteristics of the Gamay grape. Whole grape clusters are placed in a sealed vat, filled with carbon dioxide. The weight of the grapes causes some to burst, releasing juice that begins to ferment. The carbon dioxide then triggers fermentation within the intact grapes, resulting in a wine with low tannins and bright, fruity flavors.


The Beaujolais region is divided into three classifications:

Beaujolais AOC

The largest and most basic appellation in the region, producing light, fruity red wines. These wines are made primarily for immediate consumption and are not typically suitable for aging.

Beaujolais-Villages AOC

Sourced from higher quality vineyards spread across 39 villages, these wines offer a step up in quality and complexity from the basic Beaujolais AOC.

Cru Beaujolais

The pinnacle of Beaujolais winemaking, these wines come from ten specific villages known for their exceptional terroir. Each Cru has its unique characteristics, with some suitable for aging and others best enjoyed young.

Exploring the Crus

There are ten Cru Beaujolais areas in the region, there are:

  • Brouilly
  • Côte de Brouilly
  • Régnié
  • Morgon
  • Chiroubles
  • Fleurie
  • Moulin-à-Vent
  • Chénas
  • Juliénas
  • Saint-Amour

Ranging from light and floral (like Fleurie) to more full-bodied and age-worthy (such as Moulin-à-Vent), there is a Cru Beaujolais for different preferences.

So, why not try some of these fruit-forward and refreshing wines along your wine journey?

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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