By Kevin Keith
Beaujolais. More-or-less a region in its own right, it is technically part of the Burgundy region in France and is most known for the red grape varietal, Gamay Noir à Jus Noir, or more succinctly, Gamay. While it does grow grapes for white wines - predominantly Chardonnay but also Aligote, white wine makes up just about 1% of its total wine production. Here the Gamay grape is King (yes they do grow other grapes - the native red grape Pinot Liébault, and white grapes Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (known here as Pinot Beurot) and Melon de Bourgogne).
Beaujolais is stratified more-or-less by quality:
Beaujolais AOC. The most common appellation of Beaujolais wines and a designation that in any and all of the 96 villages but encompassing 60 of the villages within the Beaujolais region. A large percentage of this AOC is produced as Beaujolais Nouveau, but we won’t talk about that topic here.
Beaujolais Villages AOC. Two of the best-selling Beaujolais Villages wines are from Georges Duboeuf and Louis Jadot (two of the largest producers in all of France). This is the intermediate step for Beaujolais, this covers the 39 villages/communes that lie within the Northern portion of the region, known as the Haut Beaujolais.
Cru Beaujolais. This is the highest designation of appellation and actually represents the entire area around the Beaujolais Mountains. While seven of these are the actual village names, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly refer to the vineyards surround Mont Brouilly and the last cru - Moulin-à-Vént - is named after a windmill.
The 10 crus are (in alphabetical order):
The lightest wines of the bunch are Brouilly, Chiroubles, and Régnié, while the heaviest would be from Morgon, Moulin-à-Vént, Juliénas, and Chénas. All these wines are ideal for the holidays, and some of the most food-friendly wines out there.
100% Gamay for all these wines.