Beaujolais: 10 crus, everything you need to know
Like every year, the third Thursday of November is synonymous with the arrival of Beaujolais. On this occasion, we invite you to take a small tour of the ten crus that make up this incomparable palette of expressions of the famous and delicious Gamay grape.
The most delicate crus
Chiroubles (360 ha)
This cru has the highest altitude vines of the Beaujolais crus (up to 450 m). This is an advantage in hot years and a risk of under-ripening in cooler years. This altitude, added to light and thin granitic sand soils, contributes to give fruity and light gamays, fi and elegant, little loaded in tannins with floral notes (peony). A wine for delicatessen par excellence ?
Fleurie (870 ha)
This is the third largest vineyard in the Beaujolais by surface area. The highest part of the vineyard is situated on steep slopes, the majority of the vineyard spreads out on gentler slopes towards the east and the south. The very granitic soil gives a lot of finesse and charm to the wines of Fleurie which is often qualified as the most "feminine" of the Beaujolais crus with aromas of iris, rose and violet. A very elegant gamay.
Saint-Amour (320 ha)
With Juliénas, it is the most northern of the Beaujolais crus and it is entirely located in the department of Saône-et-Loire (most of the crus belong to the Rhône department). It is, with Chénas the smallest of the crus. It has clayey-siliceous soils and its wines are characterized by their delicate, fine and elegant side on notes of red fruits and peony. To be drunk quite young. Its name gives it a good reputation abroad and allows marketing operations during Valentine's Day dinners...
The more structured crus
Brouilly (1 300 ha)
This is the most extensive of the Beaujolais crus with a vineyard that surrounds Mount Brouilly. Note that there is no village with the name "Brouilly". Its soil, thin and not very fertile, is constituted of granitic arenas, result of the erosion of the hill of Brouilly. The wines of Brouilly are full-bodied and very fruity with a very pleasant and seductive side that makes it the "bistro wine" par excellence, especially in Paris where 20% of its total production is sold!
Côte de Brouilly (310 ha)
Located on the slopes of the hill of the same name, this cru is in a way the heart of the Brouilly vineyard with generally better quality and better exposed terroirs, even if, due to the "circular" character of the vineyard, one must sometimes be wary (especially in cold vintages) of the parcels facing north. The Côte de Brouilly translates in the glass the power of its soil with a beautiful personality and often a "wild flowers" and very mineral side.
Juliénas (580 ha)
The terroir of Juliénas is made up of thin and arid granitic soils in the west, infiltrated by veins of manganese and porphyry, which, towards the east, give way to sedimentary soils with ancient alluvium. Sheltered from the north and east winds, the site of the appellation generally gives a later maturity than the average of Beaujolais. Today, it is the most "Parisian" of the Beaujolais crus, also immortalized by the truculent Inspector Bérurier in the adventures of San-Antonio. Generally very fragrant (peach, red fruits) it is also a rather structured wine that can be kept for a few years.
Régnié (400 ha)
While most of the crus were classified as AOC at the end of the 1930s, Régnié is the youngest of the bunch since the AOC only dates from 1988. The relevance of its classification has always been debated and its reputation has not really taken off... On a pink granite soil, it gives a rather fleshy wine with little tannins.
The crus de garde
Chénas (270 ha)
The smallest of the Beaujolais crus has long been in the shadow of its prestigious neighbor Moulin-à-Vent. The latter has stolen some beautiful terroirs from it during the publication of the AOC... Nevertheless, it generally offers in common with its neighbor a beautiful density of wine with sometimes notes of pinot bourguignon. It is a wine that evolves very well over time and that it is advisable to keep for a few years when it can develop a nice floral bouquet.
Moulin-à-vent (660 ha)
It is without doubt the most famous of the Beaujolais crus in France and abroad. Its soils, made of pink and friable granitic arena called gore or sandstone, infiltrated with manganese seams, give the wines an intense color. Tasted young, it develops floral and fruity scents, with a dominant of violet supported by a cherry flavour, but it is with the years that it widens its palette evolving towards aromas of iris, faded roses and spices. It is undoubtedly the cru which, with ageing, tends to resemble the most a beautiful Burgundy.
Morgon (1 100 ha)
Very extensive (the second largest of the Beaujolais crus, just after Brouilly) and it is undoubtedly the one that presents the most beautiful expressions of Gamay, notably on the exceptional volcanic terroir of the Côte du Py. It is located mainly in the commune of Villié-Morgon and its characteristics come from its location on a soil of decomposed granitic schists, impregnated with iron oxide and manganese, which give the wines very particular qualities. Morgon wines are rather powerful, dense and fleshy. They often offer aromas of ripe stone fruits such as cherry or plum. The morgons evolve very well over a good ten years in good vintages.