1. Beaujolais, is it a grape or a wine or the name of a place?
Beaujolais is what the wine from the province of Beaujolais is called. The grape is Gamay Noir. It is also called Gamay Noir a jus blanc, which translates as “black gamay with white juice.”
2. Is Beaujolais a red wine or a white wine?
Beaujolais is almost always a red wine made from the red grape, Gamay Noir. However, a small amount of white wine, rosé and even sparkling wine is made in this area. But if you go upto a bar and ask for a glass of Beaujolais, the odds are good you will get a glass of fine red wine.
3. What is a Cru?
Cru means that the grapes for the wine came from a specially designated area. The designation is awarded by a governmental organization called AOC. It is determined by virtue of it’s soil, microclimate and even farming/winemaking techniques that may be unique to the area.
4. So what’s with all those Regnie, Julienas, Morgon etc..?
Those are the names of the “Cru” wines. Best of the best so to speak. Most of the Cru are named after villages. Some are named after a region in Beaujolais.
5. What’s the big deal with Beaujolais Nouveau
As the name implies, Beaujolais Nouveau is the “new Beaujolais” It is usually a quick fermented wine of the same vintage. It is released on the 3rd Thursday of November. Since it is made for immediate release, it is not made from the best selection of grapes and is more about marketing than quality. That having said, there are some pretty decent Beaujolais Nouveau out there.
6. What food wines match well with Beaujolais?
I am glad you asked me that question because Beaujolais is one of those wines that pair easily with pretty much anything. It can hold it’s own with red meats, salads, sea foods, mildly spiced foods, and even desserts. In fact most bistros in France (and better ones everywhere else) serve a Beaujolais as the house wine
7. If it is all that great, how come I never heard about this Beaujolais?Beaujolais outside of Europe has flown pretty much under the radar because a large amount of Cru wines are consumed locally. That having said, there has been a gradual discovery of these wines among the people in the know. That includes you now!
8. Can you cook with Beaujolais?Yes you can. In fact, any recipe that calls for a red wine in cooking will do amazing with a fruity Beaujolais. Especially they do well in recipes that ask for Pinot Noir .
9. Why should I drink Beaujolais?
Well, because I told you. Just kidding! Nobody should tell you what you should like. But seriously, these are really delicious, fruity, easy to like wines that go well with food. Couple of thousand bistros in Paris can’t be wrong!
10. I am convinced, but I am still confused. Which ones should I buy?
I thought you would never ask 🙂
If you are exploring Beaujolais wines for the first time, I would recommend these wines
Why? This wine made by Remy Passot is perfumed and has notes of raspberries, currants, blackberries, cassis with a dash of spice and a mineral core. This is a delicious wine with a long finish. My recommendation to pair: Crab cakes, rotiserrie chicken, anything from the grill!
Why? Lilian and Sandrine Matray’s wine is an amazing entry level wine that has tons of red fruits, a lush mouthfeel. My recommendation to pair: Tri tip sandwiches, ribs
Why? This wine from Arthur and Pierre is a well structured wines which are delicate, fruity but at the same time incredibly floral and the granite on which these vines grow, shows well in this wine. My recommendation to pair: roast chicken, pizza.
Why? Nathalie Fauvin’s entry level wine is full of bright fruits, with good acidity making this a lip smacking wine. My recommendation to pair: another one for roast chicken and pizza.
If you have any questions about these wines or any of our other wines, feel free to ask. For those who are already familiar with the fine wines of Beaujolais and are looking to explore further wines from this fascinating wine region, I will have more recommendations to follow..
Two photographs in this post were used with permission from Discover Beaujolais. Visit their site to learn more about this fascination region and it’s elegant wines.