Grape Expectations: Beaujolais

Over the past few years, Beaujolais has been undergoing something of a renaissance. Many of us of a certain age will recall the oceans of rather horrible plonk that used to accompany the phrase ‘Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé’ on the third Thursday of every November. Notes of bubblegum with an aftertaste of sour fruit – lovely (I think not!).

This is thankfully not the case today. Wines from Beaujolais – made almost exclusively from the Gamay grape except for a miniscule amount of white wine made from Chardonnay – can represent excellent value for money. What’s more, the quality available from this once diminutive region seems to reach greater heights on a daily basis.

For the best wines, look for Beaujolais-Villages over simple Beaujolais – or, better, one of the ten Crus. Consider Fleurie for lighter, more delicate styles, Moulin à Vent or Morgon for more structured, intense wines. Beaujolais wines are generally lighter in body, lower in tannin and work beautifully lightly chilled. In other words, perfect for summer!

Recommendation: Domaine A.F Gros Moulin-à-vent en Mortpéray – Is it cheap? No. But my lord is it good. Made by one of Burgundy’s leading producers, this is Beaujolais at its best. Structured, aromatic and beautifully balanced.

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