It is my first trip to Beaujolais. My prior perception of the region’s wine was vague ideas of Beaujolais Nouveau and a taste of bubblegum. However the truth turns out to be wonderfully different with a range of cru appellations and some surprisingly good white chardonnays.
The region is around 19,000 hectares in over 50,000 parcels (so most are very small). The AC yields are limited to 52hl/ha, the planting is very dense (10,000 vines per hectare mostly in very low gobolet style), and the average vine age is 44 years. The generally light, fruity style of the reds which make up the vast majority of production results from the carbonic maceration used as the first stage of fermentation: the grapes are left in whole bunches at low temperatures under a blanket of carbon dioxide to reduced tannic extraction and encourage lighter flavours.
The region is comprised of the 10 “Crus” plus a few others.
Right now the shoots are exploding into life all over the region. The weather has been hot and very dry, with budburst 3 weeks earlier than is normal!