Exploring Burgundy - Beaujolais introduction

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Beaujolais seems to be a good place to start in our exploration of Burgundy especially considering the time of year. On every third Thursday in November, right after the vintage, the world celebrates the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. And in 2012, for the first time, Shanghai will become one of the “officially appointed” cities to release this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, along with the rest of the world.

Beaujolais is situated in the far south of all Burgundy wine districts, west of the River Sâone. It is primarily a red wine region, with Gamay being the dominant grape. A small amount of Chardonnay is also produced here.

Although Beaujolais is most famous for its best-drink-young-style Beaujolais Noveau, which is mostly produced in the generic Beaujolais AC, it also produces “serious” reds in Beaujolais Village and Beaujolais Crus.

Beaujolais Village lies to the north of Beaujolais AC and accounts for a quarter of the region’s total production. Reds here are normally blended between villages, and only wines made from a single village can be branded with the name of that village.

The best reds in Beaujolais can be found in ten Beaujolais Crus. These ten Crus have their own AC names, thus they don’t usually carry “Beaujolais” on their bottles. Among them, Morgon AC and Moulin a Vent AC produce the most powerful wines with excellent aging potential.

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