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The French winegrowing sector is part of wine law Burgundy and lies in the extreme south of this wine-growing region. Historically, it has never been part of it. The northern part of the Beaujolais belongs to the department of Sâone-et-Loire and thus administratively to Burgundy. The majority, however, with the capital, Villefranche-sur-Saône, belongs administratively to the Rhône department and thus belongs to the Rhône-Alpes region. The southernmost part of the Beaujolais forms its own appellation Coteaux du Lyonnais, It is an ancient wine-growing region because, among other things, remains of Roman vineyards were discovered at Mont Broully (one of the Cru communities). In the 7th century Benedictine monks more vineyards created.

Beaujolais - vineyards

The name derives from the Burgundian noble family of the Beaujeu, who ruled here from 950 to 1400. At the foot of its fortress, the town called Beaujeu was built in the 10th century. Independence from Burgundy came about through the edict of the Duke of Burgundy Philip II the Bold (1342-1404), which banned the cultivation of the Gamay vine in Burgundy itself. Until the mid-17th century, however, viticulture played only a minor role here. This was also due to the poor possibility of transporting the wine to the large delivery points, which is why the wine was mainly consumed in the area itself. It was only through the construction of the Briare Canal that from 1642 the two rivers Loire and Seine connected, the market finally opened for Paris.

The area stretches over 50 kilometers in length and 30 kilometers in width. The river valley of the Sâone lies in the east, the Burgundian area borders in the north Mâconnais with which Beaujolais overlaps to a small extent. There are two different geological areas. Granite prevails in the north with the best quality wines, but limestone in the south. The ideal, moderate for winegrowing climate has continental, atlantic and mediterranean influences. The vineyards occupy around 22,000 hectares of vines at an altitude between 200 and 450 meters in 96 communities. The market is big Winzergenossenschaften controlled. Around 2,500 winegrowers only have small vineyards with a few hectares.

Map of Beaujolais / Map of Burgundy

Production of the Beaujolais

The red Beaujolais is mostly unmixed from the classic Beaujolai dove Gamay won, whose specialty is the white pulp (the full name is Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc). Nowhere else does this strain mean anything. Their share of the vineyards is 99%. This extreme monoculture arose after the Phylloxera disaster, Cover the tiny rest Aligoté. Chardonnay. Pinot gris and Melon de Bourgogne for the white wine, but also up to a maximum of 15% for red wine and Rose allowed are. The Pinot Noir up to 15% was allowed to be added to the red wine by 2015. Beaujolais Blanc and Rosé are almost unknown outside the area and play no role. The red Beaujolais must be dry and are usually soft or slightly tannic, fresh and aromatic.

For the wine known as Beaujolais Nouveau for export or especially on the French market also as Beaujolais Primeur , the whole grapes are preserved using the method Maceration carbonique fermented at which much carbonic acid forms. The fermentation takes one to two weeks. This fully unfolds the aromatic potential of the gamay grape. The bright ruby red to bluish wine has a relatively high acidity and a fruity aroma. It can be marketed from the third Thursday in November and is young to drink within a year. The new vintage will be released with a big festival in Beaujeu on Wednesday before the third Thursday in November. There is a torchlight procession, a banquet and dance. At the "Mise en Perce" at midnight, the racking takes place. Every year, 60 million bottles of the world's most popular wine are produced, 50% of which are exported to 200 countries.

This rapidly produced wine has its fans, otherwise it would not be so successful. But his critics even deny the drink, also known as "Lollipop wine", the right to be called "wine". Due to the special form of fermentation technology that is averted by many winegrowers boiled sweets Flavors of bananas, candies, chewing gum and, at worst, of nail polish ( Solution midrange ). The British Wine Author and Master of Wine Anthony Hanson mentions in the book "Burgundy" a well-known winemaker from Beaujolais who derogates this fermentation technique as "carbonation masturbation". So even in Burgundy, despite the undisputed sales success, there is an aversion to this type of wine.

The more durable and tannic wines are combined with the classic maceration vinified. Most of these are bottled after one year. There is one every year on the second Sunday in December auction (Auctioning) wines with a charitable purpose. This "Hospices de Beaujeu" was first held in 1797. That was 62 years before the much more famous one Hospices de Beaune, The price of a bottle item has to be beaten until the flame of a candle has gone out. The association owns 65 vineyards. A specialty in Beaujolais is the traditional serving bottle Pot Lyonnais with an extremely thick glass bottom, which allows the previously chilled wine to be kept cool on the table for longer.

Beaujolais classification

The multi-level quality pyramid is based on that used throughout the region Burgundy classification for layers or wines. Instead of four, there are only three levels, which means there are no grands crus:

Beaujolais : The simple appellation is basically open to all winegrowers, but is mostly only used in the southern half on around 10,000 hectares of vineyards. There is a clayey limestone floor with sandstone. The wines pressed here are significantly lighter than in the north and do not match their quality. At least 10% vol alcohol content is required. The main producers are large cooperatives such as Cave Beaujolaise du Bois-d'Oingt, Cave Cooperative Beaujolaise de St-Verand and Les Vignerons de la Cave Bully. The Beaujolais Supérieur appellation applies to wines with 10.5% alcohol by volume (hardly used).

Beaujolais Villages : The appellation covers around 5,000 hectares of vineyards in the north. The fictional dividing line to the south is the municipality of Villefranche-sur-Saône. The floors are made of granite, porphyry and slate with sand and clay (without lime). The weathering of the granite rock in the form of quartz sand forms a layer from ten centimeters to several meters thick at certain points. This is the soil on which the Gamay vine gives the best results. A total of 38 municipalities have the right to change the name to Beaujolais on Etiket t, of which the ten cru statuses below have. If it is a blend of two or more municipalities, "Beaujolais Villages" must be used. Eight municipalities have the right to consider the wines as Mâcon-Villages and four of them as Saint-Véran market.

Beaujolais Crus : Ten municipalities in the northern area have cru status, which, in contrast to the other appellations, only applies to red wines. Their vineyards cover around 7,000 hectares. These wines in particular have made the name Beaujolais famous. At first glance, many are not even recognizable as Beaujolais, since often only the community appears on the label. Also Flurnamen and layers can be added. The communities are Brouilly. Chénas. Chiroubles. Côte-de-Brouilly. Fleurie. Juliénas. Morgon. Moulin-à-Vent. Régnié and Saint-Amour, The wines of the Crus Chénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent are considered the best. Nine crus (except Régnié) wines from Gamay are also allowed Bourgogne market. Everywhere else in Beaujolais this is only withheld from the (little) produced wines from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Beaujolais producers

Well-known producers of Beaujolais are Château du Bluizard, Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud, Domaine F&J. Calot, Château de La Chaize, Domaine Champagnon, Domaine Emile Cheysson, Michel Chignard, Louis-Claude Desvignes, Domaine Desperrier, Duboeuf, Jean Foillard, Domaine de la Fully, Domaine Gay-Coperet, Château des Jacques, Paul Janin, Bernard Jomain, Domaine Benoit Trichard, Hubert Lapierre, Jean Lathuilière, Domaine des Marrans, Domaine Laurent Martray, Alain Michaud, Domaine Gilbert Picolet, Domaine Dominique Piron, Jean-Charles Pivot, Michel Tête, Château Thivin, Dom. des Terres Dorées, cathedral. Benoit Trichard and Domaine du Vissoux.

Vineyards: By Geoff Wong - Flickr as Wine country , CC BY 2.0 , Link
Map left: From Cyril5555 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Map on the right: From DalGobboM ¿! I? - Own work, GFDL,

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