Beaujolais, the largest and southernmost region in Burgundy, lies roughly midway between Burgundy’s famed Côte d’Or and the Northern Rhône Valley. For the most part, Beaujolais wines — 99% of which are based on the red gamay grape variety — are light to medium bodied, high in acidity, low in tannins, and deliver big, up-front red fruit flavors. They have a high capacity for soil and site expression, which makes for an exciting range of flavors and styles across the region. While most Beaujolais is made for immediate drinking and best served with a light chill, some of the region’s ten best village cru producers offer fuller-bodied, more structured styles.
The ten elite crus (villages). There are ten villages in Beaujolais whose wines stand above all others; they have been afforded cru status and account for roughly 25% of total production. The Cru Beaujolais villages include (listed by the style of wine they produce, from lightest bodied to fullest bodied): Chiroubles, St-Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon, and Moulin-à-Vent.
We wanted to profile one of our favorites of these Cru Beaujolais appellations for you: Chiroubles. This appellation offers some of the best price-value wines in the market today.
Chiroubles is positioned mid-way along the strip of hilly land in northern Beaujolais that is home to these ten select villages; soils are primarily of rough granite. Chiroubles is situated at the highest elevation of the Beaujolais crus (400 meters); the resulting relative coolness afforded by this higher elevation affords them a characteristic delicacy. These lighter-bodied wines have an expansive bouquet (violet, orange blossom, and peony are often referenced); they are fruit-forward (think raspberry), yet sophisticated, often with delicate notes of game, stone, currant, and tea that add complexity. Wines are designed for immediate drinking. This appellation gets our vote for the best of lighter style Beaujolais.
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