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More than Nouveau : Top cru Beaujolais names to know

Change in Beaujolais is causing the quality to improve dramatically. Decanter's Tasting team recommend wines from some of the region's most influential producers...

For a long time now, Beaujolais‘ reputation has been somewhat focussed on the fun, fruity Beaujolais Nouveau, stealing the limelight from the region’s best quality wines. Decline was inevitable, and vineyards began to be grubbed up as the popularity of Nouveau faded.

A new hope

But, just in the nick of time, Beaujolais seems to have found salvation: a run of successful vintages, investment in the region, and the growing influence of the ‘gang of four’ which appeals to our modern day mantra of ecologically friendly, artisanal products.

The crus of Beaujolais (the 10 highest quality areas) can offer exceptional value, especially when compared to similarly priced Burgundy.

The best ones demonstrate minerality, intensity, freshness and structure. Decanter’s tasting team have selected some of the best cru Beaujolais from names that are defining the region.

Continue reading below

Cru Beaujolais – Names to know:


The Gang of Four

In the 1980s, four winemakers (Jean-Paul Thévenet, Guy Breton, Jean Foillard & Marcel Lapierre) turned to tradition in order to produce high quality, terroir-driven wines they could be proud to call Beaujolais.

Their natural winemaking methods hinged on several non-negotiables: old vines; organic or biodynamic farming principles; strict sorting of the grapes; minimal use of sulphur dioxide; no chaptalisation; and no filtration.

Now, a new generation has taken up this mantle of change. Jean Foillard’s wines are championed by sommeliers in trendy restaurants and bars on both sides of the Atlantic; Marcel Lapierre’s work is being continued by his children; and we have an unprecedented choice of high quality wines that are helping to drive the recognition of various climats within the ten crus, with help from  huge investment in soil analysis.

The 10 crus of Beaujolais

  • Brouilly
  • Chénas
  • Chiroubles
  • Côte de Brouilly
  • Fleurie
  • Juliénas
  • Morgon
  • Moulin-à-Vent
  • Régnié
  • Saint-Amour

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