The head of the wine council for Beaujolais has revealed that the region is hoping to gain appellation status for its sparkling wines, although approval is expected to take around five years.
Beaujolais has been producing a small quantity of sparkling wines over the past few decades, but labelled as table wines under the Vins de France classification.
Jean Bourjade, managing director of Inter Beaujolais, said a sparkling Beaujolais appellation would not try to compete with well-established sparkling wines, such as Champagne, Prosecco or Cava.
He said producers would offer something a bit different – with a comparatively low alcohol level of 9% abv and higher residual sugar. Made from the Gamay grape, the wines still have a natural acidity, freshness and ‘explosion of fruit’, said Bourjade.
As well as tapping into the worldwide popularity of sparkling wine, Inter Beaujolais hopes that a Beaujolais sparkling wine will help with an ongoing campaign to reduce the region’s reputation for Beaujolais Nouveau from the Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages areas.
The sparkling wines will not be made in the 10 Beaujolais Crus.
If appellation status is achieved, Bourjade said sparkling Beaujolais will dominate a new chunk of an ‘almost untapped market’.
The production levels for the sparkling wine are currently between 600,000 and 800,000 bottles per year, but if awarded appellation status this could reach ‘millions and millions’, according to Bourjade.
Separately, Bourjade added that Beaujolais Nouveau sales have grown consecutively in the UK for the past four years, despite Inter Beaujolais investing no marketing money in the category.
See the results from the cru Beaujolais 2013s panel tasting in the August issue of Decanter – on sale now or subscribe here.
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