"Beaujeu - ancient capital of the Beaujolais" Beaujeu by pedroswift

Beaujeu Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 17 photos

Between Burgundy and Cotes du Rhone

Technically speaking the Beaujolais Region covers parts of the north of the Rhône département (Rhône-Alpes) and parts of the south of the Saône-et-Loire département (Burgundy).This is a beautiful area for a road trip : neglected by most tourists judging from the lack of entries in the VT travel Guides.
Beaujolais is known for its wine production. Like most French wine producing areas, a system of grading has been applied to the vineyards...... Appellation Controlee.
Ten villages (& areas around the villages) have been graded as producing the best wine. They are from north to south Saint-Armour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié , Brouilly & Côte de Brouilly.
Surrounding areas are classified "Beaujolais Villages" and plain "Beaujolais" which supposedly produces the lowest quality grapes/wine.
The northern part of the region features stony red granite hill sides. The best grapes seem to grow there.
more on Beaujolais Wine production
I'm interested in the corruption stories. Given the push by the French of how great their 'Appellation Controllee' system is, one wonders how often the rules are stretched???

Gamay

The grape variety grown is the Gamay. It produces a flowery light wine much overlooked by wine connoisseurs. A huge quantity of wine is produced and much has been done to promote its sale. You may have heard of the Nouveau Race. A marketing ploy aimed mostly at consumers from the U.K. involving getting the first bottles of wine of the year's production to the market place on the third Thursday in November. The new wine is low quality and hardly worth drinking ( according to the experts). It is a matter of bulls**t baffling brains.... a big marketing con. Don't take my word for it: try some. Australian wine drinkers more used to wines with more guts (tannin) wouldn't use it to clean their car tyres let alone drink it.
I have not consumed a lot of wine from the region (average about 6 bottles a year). When I buy a bottle it is from one of the 10 villages in the hope that it was not bottled in November and the best wine making practices were observed. The wine is all about wine making practices. Gamay requires a lot of attention to coax any flavour and depth of colour from it. It is a red grape with white flesh/juice. Carbonic Maceration is the mandatory technique used in the 10 cru villages.
Interestingly, most bottles of wine from the 10 cru villages only have the specific village name on the label. "Beaujolais" is not mentioned at all. Perhaps the makers wish to be divorced from the ocean of inferior product labeled Beaujolais.
No spiel on Beaujolais would be complete without mentioning the King of Beaujolais, Georges Duboeuf. Most Beaujolais is made and sold by large wine producers or négociants (agents for other growers). The leading name and by far the largest of these is Georges Duboeuf who has his hand in over 15% of sales from the region. He is the consummate promoter being responsible for the Nouveau phenomena. As one would expect, Duboef bottles labels carry distinctive labels featuring his name and pretty flower motifs.

Road Trip

We have done two road trips through the region over the years. There are wine tasting opportunities at every corner. Producers make wine from more than one village or area so there are chances to try many wines at one outlet. We've done some wine tasting but that has not been the highlight preferring to restrict our drinking to a bottle of cru with our meal at night or a couple of glasses at lunch. (Don't drink and drive).
It is a beautiful area with some good restaurants and, I suggest, worthy of a couple of days and nights to see the region.
Go in summer when the vines are at their best.
We stayed at Le Villon Hotel Le Villon Restaurant at Villie Morgon

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful countryside
  • Cons:nothing to report
  • In a nutshell:ancient capital of the Beaujolais - start road trip here
  • Last visit to Beaujeu: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 4, 2012
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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    Not far from Lyon, I see. Beaujolais Nouveau is aggressively marketed in Germany, as well.

pedroswift

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