The region -
BEAUJOLAIS - the home of Gamay grapes
Beaujolais wine region lies on the 49th. Parallel
between Burgundy and Rhone wine regions with comprising 95 communes, 11 in
the Saone-et-Loire and 85 in the Rhone department.
The Saône river forms the eastern border while to
the west the mountains for the Central Massif make for a semi-continental
climate. The vineyards are situated at an average altitude of 300 metres
and comprise 22,600 hectares in 61,000 parcels making 3600 vineyards of
round an average size of 7 hectares.
Beaujolais is one of the older French vineyards
with the first vines being planted in Roman times. Today it consists of 12
appellations that split into 3 groups viz. Le Beaujolais, Beaujolais
Villages and Les Cru consisting of 10 separate appellations.
The region has widely differing terroir with a
range of soil conditions from sand and clay to limestone and granite,
different aspects and elevations, and varying climate conditions. This
difference, coupled with the fact that 90% of the production is from the
Gamay grape grown under prescribed cultivation methods, gives rise to an
exciting range of wines with unique characteristics of the terroir.
While the focus is on red wine from the Gamay
grape the region does produce its world famous premier, Beaujolais
Nouveaux , rose, and from Chardonnay Beaujolais Blanc and sparkling Blanc