Beaujolais, a district of Burgundy, France, south of Pairs, produces almost exclusively the light, thin-skinned Gamay red grape. Each year on the third Thursday of November, Nouveau Beaujolais—a cheap, barely fermented wine—is released, amid much fanfare as well as much ridicule.
There are 10 villages that produce Beaujolais Cru, not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau. A Beaujolais Cru can be “distinguished and complex,” and is a far cry from the grapy and sweet Nouveau wines. One reason Beaujolais Cru is perhaps overlooked is that it comes from the Gamay grape and is not a Pinot Noir grape, explains Lettie Teague in the WSJ.
Gamay is considered by some to be a less-serious grape, although when grown in granite soils, as in Morgon, it can take on the character of a Pinot Noir with age, something producers refer to as “pinotizing.”
Discerning drinkers already know what great deals the best Beaujolais crus represent. Perhaps with so many high-quality, good-value wines in the market right now, Beaujolais will finally mean more than Nouveau for everyone else.
Whether you are a budding or sophisticated wine lover, Rajat Parr’s Secrets of the Sommeliers is an excellent, enjoyable reference. Of Beaujolais Cru, Raj writes, “These days, there is probably no wine that I am more excited about than Beaujolais. I drink it at home, I drink it at restaurants, I push it at RN74. I cannot get enough of it. … the wines not only remain delicious, easy to drink, and affordable, but also become complex and age-worthy.”
Click here for five choices of Beaujolais Cru Ms. Teague considers a cut above the rest.