Beaujolais is known for its long history of winemaking. Roman rulers as far back as the 500s or 600s first established Beaujolais as a winemaking area. Like most other French wines, it boomed when the development of French railroads made shipping and distribution easier.
Long considered a southern region of Burgundy, Beaujolais produces wines of quite different styles, varietals and using different vinification methods than its counterpart to the north.
Max. Summer Temp.
Main Soil Types
There are 4 main classifications of soil in Beaujolais:
Granite and sand (primary soils) forming acidic, sandy soils which are poor in clay. These thin, filtering soils are found in the Beaujolais-Villages vineyards but also in the Chiroubles appellation.
Crystalline and mineral-rich soils (iron, potassium, manganese) which give some wines a certain characteristic. The soils of the Morgon appellation are made-up of blue-green rocks rich in Manganese.
Jurassic soils (secondary soils), which are stony and calcareous allowing coolness and moisture. These shallow and stony soils are present in the Beaujolais appellation.
The tertiary and quaternary soils differ from those listed before because of their lack of limestone and deep clay. These soils are also found in many of the Beaujolais AOC appellations.
Latitude 46° 23′ N
Longitude 4° 38′ E
Types of Grape
The two principal grapes in the Beaujolais appellations are Gamay and Chardonnay:
The only varietal used for red wines in the Beaujolais is Gamay which takes its name from a small village in the Côte d'Or. This early budding varietal is characterized by its compact bunches of black-skinned, white-juiced grapes. The resulting wines are delicate, round and very fruity with an elegant bouquet. Beaujolais, land of preference for this varietal, represents 70% of all the Gamay planted in the world. There is also Gamay planted in small quantities in other regions of France like in the Loire Valley and in other countries such as Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Canada and California.
Only 600 hectares of Chardonnay are planted in the Beaujolais region representing less than 3% of all grapes grown in the area. To the north the vineyards lie mainly on granite and flint soils and to the south-west on clay-limestone soils, this terroir produces a Chardonnay of great finesse, revealing notes of white flowers and acacia on the nose and yellow fruits, notably mirabelle plums, in the mouth.