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Beaujolais Wine Region, France

Beaujolais is among the most important wine regions of France, which is located in the Eastern part of the country.

Beaujolais wines can be called as specialty AOC wines from France, which are world famous for their fruity red wine varieties.

Wine grape varieties

Role of Gamay Grape in Beaujolais Wines

Gamay grape (Gamay noir) forms the major part of the wine production in Beaujolais wine region. The wide distribution of this grape variety makes the region to be one among the world’s few regions that are focusing on the single grape variety.

Gamay, which is a thin-skinned, purple-colored grape variety, is low in tannins.

Gamay noir is found to be got from crossing two different of grapes namely, Pinot noir and Gouais. The major reason for the widespread distribution of this particular grape variety in this region is that Gamay gets ripe two weeks earlier than our Pinot noir and hence, the cultivators are finding it easy to harvest. Another reason for the larger production is the stronger, fruitier red wine that is got from this grape variety.

Gamay grape has a special characteristic – when planted on acidic soils, this grape is able to produce a distinctive type of wine that could soften the naturally higher acidity of this Gamay.

Gamay Noir vs. Other Gamay Varieties

Most of the wine lovers must be aware of the Gamay Beaujolais of California. But, it is to be noted that the Gamay noir variety that is grown in the Beaujolais is different from other well-known varieties like Napa Gamay and Gamay Beaujolais.

Gamay vine that is being used in the French Beaujolais AOC wines is not to be confused with the other varieties.

Most of the specialty red wines from Beaujolais are 100% Gamay noir although up to 15% white wine grapes can be added to the Beaujolais red wines as per the AOC regulation. So, what makes Gamay noir different from the other Gamay teinturier varieties? The Gamay noir grape varieties are known to impart a characteristic deep bluish-red color to the wine and are able to produce the wines with low acidity, low tannins, and light to moderate body. The aroma that is associated with Gamay noir is the typical red berry aroma.

Alcohol and Distilleries

Beaujolais Winemaking Process

Apart from the grape variety, there is another reason why the Beaujolais wines can be called as specialty wines and are world famous. A particular winemaking technique is widely accepted in this region, which is again a major contributor for the popularity of Beaujolais wines.

This technique is referred as ‘carbonic maceration’ where the grapes will be soaked or macerated in a carbon-dioxide-rich setting. The effects of this process will be the reduction of wine’s tannins and the enhancement of fruity flavors and aromas.

For the lighter wine varieties, this process will be shorter (about three days) and for the other wine varieties, it can be around ten days. During this fermentation period, the wines would gain more rich colors and tannins from the skin of the grape when compared with the lighter wines.

Wines that produced with Gamay

The wines that are produced based on Gamay grapes would be light-bodied with fruity flavors. However, if you have the chance to taste the Gamay-based wines that has undergone some modest aging, then you could feel a heavy-bodied that is mainly due to the maceration with whole berries. These macerated varieties can be seen mostly in the ‘Cru Beaujolais’. This region wines would typically have a mixed flavor of sour cherries, black pepper, dried berries, fresh-cut stones, and chalk.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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