The wines of the Beaujolais and Mâconnais
Beaujolais vineyards and its twelve appellations (kinds of wine)
The Beaujolais covers 17 324 hectres along the river Saone in an area 10 to 15 kilometres wide and 50 kilometres long.
It sits on the hilly slopes of the Beaujolais which are between 700 and 1000 metres high and is bordered by Macon in the north and Lyon in the south.
The ‘Gamay Noir’ grape is king in this area giving an extraordinary range of wines from very fine to very aromatic.
At the north end of the vineyards, Brouilly, Chiroubles, Chénas, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié, Saint-Amour are the ten jewels in our crown.
They demonstrate the wonders that can occur when a grape meets granitic soil.
The characteristics of Beaujolais wines
At the heart of Beaujolais, also grown on granitic soil, we find Beaujolais-Villages wine.
This appellation covers 38 villages situated on the hillsides which produce delicious, fruity wines.
Beaujolais-Villages are ideal to share with friends, with their cherry red colour and fruity flavours of blackcurrant and strawberry.
They are mostly found as Beaujolais-Villages Nouveaux, as Beaujolais rosé wines and Beaujolais Blanc wines.
Further south, near Lyon is the birthplace of Beaujolais, in the magnificent Pierres Dorées region.
The Beaujolais appellation combines a fresh and fruity taste.
They are very aromatique and are the ideal accompaniment to summer meals.
The products of Beaujolais vines are worth discovering.
Beaujolais wines are some of the best value for money in France, whether a Beaujolais, a Beaujolais Villages or one of the vintages.
The vineyards of the Mâconnais and its appellations
The Mâconnais covers 3 750 hectares along the Saone over 35 km, in hilly countryside. There are vines in six distinct ranges in the north and south.
Three types of soil exist in the Mâconnais vines.
Brown topsoil, with loam and limestone where the white grape Chardonnay thrives.
The Gamay Noir does very well in sandy soil.
The bélouzes are the clay and clay –limestone soil which produce white wines from chardonnay and pinot blanc grapes, but can also produce red wines from the Gamay and Pinot noir grape.
The wine appellation “Macon” offers all the variaties of wine, from the light and fruity to the more complex.
The Mâconnais region includes several Burgundian wines: Bourgogne Aligoté, Coteaux Bourguignons and Crémant de Bourgogne.
It also has appellations specific to the region like the Villages appellation, which covers 26 villages. Lastly the most prestigious vintages of the Mâconnais : Pouilly-Fuissé, Pouilly-Loché, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Saint-Véran, Viré-Clessé.
The characteristics of Mâconnais wines
Chardonnay is the most common white grape variety in Mâconnais wines, making up 80% of plantations in the region.
Mâconnais white wines have an aroma of aniseed, verbena, almond, hazelnut, of small white flowers and citrus and can run from very pale to golden in colour.
These are the wines, which are very elegant and rich in aroma. The Chardonnay grape can also give the wine a long shelf life.
Macon red wines tend to be full-bodied and lively with colours going from cherry red through garnet to rich ruby. The purplish tinge is typical of a Gamay.
It has an aroma evoquing fruits such as the blueberry and redcurrant which changes towards a pepper and prune aroma with age.
Maconnais reds should be drunk young and served cold.