Beaujolais Beyond Nouveau

Beaujolais has long held a reputation for making the cheap and cheerful bistro wines of Paris and Lyon, and it's international reputation is founded on the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau, which can be charming, but its sheer volume and frequent mediocrity have overwhelmed demand and tarnished the reputation of the whole region. The silver lining for us is that the negative perception of the region keeps prices low for those of us who know better. Join us Wednesday, March 6 from 4pm to 7pm to explore some of the more refined and elegant wines that this region has to offer!

The viticultural tradition of Beaujolais began with the Romans and was carried on into the Middle Ages by Benedictine monks. The region eventually became a possession of the Dukes of Burgundy, which is why, today, it is legally included in that region. However, differences in climate, soils, varietals, and winemaking traditions mean that the wines have a markedly different character from the wines of Burgundy proper.

The vast majority of Beaujolais production is red wine made from the Gamay Noir grape (usually referred to simply as "Gamay"), which is an old crossing between Pinot Noir and Gouais that is first attested in the mid-fifteenth century and is probably significantly older than that. In basic Beaujolais, it produces exceptionally fruity, aromatic wines, typically marked by ripe berry fruit and purple floral notes, while in the crus the wines acquire more spicy and mineral notes and more structured tannins.

There are three levels of appellation in Beaujolais with the highest level being the ten Crus, small regions known for producing wines of markedly higher quality. Unlike basic Beaujolais and the mid-level Beaujolais-Villages, Cru wines are usually labelled only with the name of the Cru, to distinguish them from the other wines of the region.

Tickets for our regular Wednesday tastings are $15, and the wines in the lineup are all 10% off during the tasting.