We love Beaujolais. It’s the quintessential bistro wine, and the wine to celebrate the harvest. Beaujolais is the rightful home of gamay, the bastard child of pinot noir that was exiled by the Duke of Burgundy at the end of the 14th century for being “a very bad and disloyal plant”. As it turned out, the granitic soils of Beaujolais suit gamay better than the limestone of the Cote D’Or. Due in part to the process of carbonic maceration, there is no more effortlessly drinkable wine than Beaujolais.
Attention to the terroir of the region has never been more acute, thanks to the work of the most recent generation of conscientious vignerons. With the addition of Régnié in 1988, there are now ten recognized Cru Beaujolais, most of which are named after their closest villages. Each has its nuances: some are light, fresh, and fruity, others have more heft, stony minerality, and greater potential for cellaring.
We’ve assembled a package of ten wines from ten different producers, one from each Cru. They are each available individually, or if you’d like to really explore the region (or just have a killer party), we’re offering a special discount on the purchase of a bottle of each wine.
almost 20% off!
A bottle of each of the wines described below. Travel village by village at your own pace through the entire region of Beaujolais; or, gather a group of friends and open them all at once to share the ultimate Cru Beaujolais experience!
2011 Domaine de Vissoux Brouilly “Pierreux” $25
Pierre Chermette was one of the first producers in the region to advocate natural winemaking. He never chaptalizes, never filters, and bottles his wines with as little sulfur as possible (sometimes none). Brouilly, the largest and most southern of the Crus, is typically a fuller, more robust wine, and Chermette’s is no exception.
2011 Paul-Henri Thillardon Chénas “Les Carrières” $25
Paul Henri Thillardon is a passionate (and handsome) young winemaker whose pride lies in his home village of Chénas. He farms organically and plows 7 hectares of vines by horse in the south of Beaujolais and in Chénas. Thillardon isn’t on anyone’s radar yet, but he should be — this wine is gorgeous!
2011 Damien Coquelet Chiroubles $23
Damien Coquelet released his first vintage in 2007 at age 20. Now a chiseled veteran winegrower, Coquelet produces wine from rented vineyards in Chiroubles and Morgon with the most natural methods possible, often bottling without sulfur. Chiroubles is the Cru with the highest elevation, producing some of the lightest and most typical Beaujolais. Coquelet bottles and releases his wine very quickly, to capture the fresh essence of the appellation.
2012 Château Thivin Côte-de-Brouilly $27
Perhaps the most iconic estate in all of Beaujolais, Château Thivin has a long and storied history of wine production. Claude-Edouard Geoffray represents the new generation, and his mark is already being made, with 2012 bringing the first year of organic certification. The vineyards of Côte de Brouilly climb higher up the volcanic mountain than those of Brouilly. This is a sturdy, rocky wine with years of life ahead of it, if you have the patience.
2010 Domaine Metrat et Fils Fleurie “La Roilette” $20
Bernard Metrat’s winery and home sit in the special section of Fleurie called “La Roilette” that overlooks Moulin-A-Vent to the east. The vines grow in a soil of decomposed pink granite, underneath lies a bed of clay. This is another example of a Beaujolais that would benefit from a few years of age.
2010 Pascal Granger Juliénas $20
The Granger estate has been passed from father to son since Napoléon ruled the Empire of France. The Grangers bottle several cuvées of Juliénas, this one being the most significant in production at around 1,000 cases per year. It shows the abundant sweet spice and floral aromas typically found in wines from this village.
2012 Marcel Lapierre Morgon $27 ***
Marcel Lapierre was the figurehead of Beaujolais who can be attributed with quietly starting the natural wine movement in France. He passed away a few years ago, but the wines never skipped a beat, as his son Mathieu was already starting to take over winemaking duties. There may be no more exemplary Morgon than Lapierre’s. It ages very well if you can manage the patience.
2011 Lucien Lardy Moulin-à-Vent “Les Thorins” $20
Moulin-A-Vent, the most famous Cru, is the home of the region’s best candidates for aging. The soil possesses an unusually high level of manganese, which slows metabolism in the vines, reducing yields and producing wines of higher concentration than is typical for Beaujolais. Lucien Lardy is a vigneron of great pride who produces wine from the villages of Fleurie, Morgon, and Moulin-à-Vent in an honest, traditional style.
2010 Domaine de Colette Régnié $18
Jacky Gauthier farms 14 hectares of vineyards scattered throughout Beaujolais using natural methods. His Régnié showcases the appellation’s famed pink granite soils as a bright, fruity vin de soif. If the best bottle on the table is the first one emptied, this might be the winner.
2010 Domaine Cheveau Saint-Amour “Les Champs Grillés” $23
Two brothers, Nicolas and Julien, represent the third generation of Domaine Cheveau, which was created by their grandfather André in 1950. The vast majority of their vineyards are in the Macôn, where they produce some of the best chardonnays in the region. They produce a tiny amount of Beaujolais each year from a plot in the heart of Saint-Amour where the soils are comprised of sand and schist. Why is called Saint-Amour? Let you mind run wild!
***If you purchased your Bo-jo-nanza before December 1, instead of Lapierre Morgon, you would have received:
2012 Domaine des Terres Dorées Morgon $20
Jean-Paul Brun falls just short of rock-star status in Morgon, though his wines are made with every bit as much conscience and integrity as the so-called “Gang of Four“. His Morgon comes from a plateau of vines next to the famous hillside lieu dit “Cote du Py”. Brun relies on native yeast and Burgundian winemaking techniques to make the truest expression of the limestone pierres dorée (golden stones) of Beaujolais, after which his family estate is named.