Beaujolais is a region in France, south of Burgundy and north of Lyon. There are three classifications of Beaujolais; Beaujolais AOC, Beaujolais Villages, and Cru Beaujolais. (for more background information on the classifications check out an earlier post here). Cru Beaujolais is the jewel of Beaujolais producing wines with varying styles, complexity, aging potential, food-friendly, and outstanding high-quality-to-value price point. There are ten crus from north to south; St. Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Each Cru has unique characteristics that can be attributed to its climate, soils, altitude, aspect, and winemaking.
This month the French Winophiles are exploring Cru Beaujolais. Join us for our Twitter chat Saturday, May 16th, at 11:00 AM ET using the hashtag #winophiles to follow and join the conversation. Don’t miss more great Cru Beaujolais articles from the group at the end of this post.
The 10 Beaujolais Crus and Their Unique Characteristics
- Saint-Amour: Borders the Mâconnais of Burgundy. It produces two distinct styles; a light, fruity, floral style, and a more prominent spicer style that evolves into a wine with Pinot Noir traits.
- Juliénas: Named after Julius Caesar. The soils are composed of granite, volcanic, and clay giving the wines structure and aging potential.
- Chénas: The smallest of the crus. Nicknamed “bouquet of flowers in a velvet basket” – displays notes of rose and iris, with silky tannins.
- Moulin-à-Vent: Known as the “King of Beaujolais.” The vineyards grow in soils of decomposed pink granite and crumbly quartz. They are considered the most tannic and full-bodied with good structure and complexity. When young notes of plum, cherry, and violet. As the wine ages, it develops notes of dried fruits, earthy truffles, meat and spice similar to a Pinot Noir.
- Fleurie: The “Queen of Beaujolais.” Vineyards are planted on higher steep slopes. The style is lighter and aromatic notes of rose, iris, violet, and ripe red fruit and peach.
- Chiroubles: The highest altitudes (820-1480 feet) and coolest climate are found in this Cru. A lighter, elegant style with floral notes, red fruit, peaches, and spices.
- Morgon: The second largest Cru. Known for its decomposing schist soils that are believed to contribute to the ripe cherry aromas in the wine. When young notes of cherry, plum, and stone fruit. As the wine ages, it develops earthy Pinot Noir traits.
- Régnié: The newest Cru. Flavor notes of peach, cherry, black currant, and raspberry.
- Côte de Brouilly: Known as “Elegant Wine on the Hill.” Vineyards are planted on volcanic soils of Mount Brouilly, giving the wines a minerality note. The wines are noted for their bright acidity with soft silky mouthfeel and red fruit flavors.
- Brouilly: The largest and most southern Cru. The vineyard soils are composed of blue/black volcanic rock. The wines tend to be fruity with jammy notes of plum, strawberry, red currant, and peach. They are meant to be consumed young.
Source Used: Wine Folly
I am a fan of Cru Beaujolais and got a little carried away when I went to the wine store to purchase a few bottles, I came home with four different Cru Beaujolais wines. It was a fun tasting to compare the different Crus styles side by side.
2018 Domaine Diochon, Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais, France
13% abv | ~$24.00 | 100% Gamay
Domaine Diochon is located across the road from the famous historic windmill of the cru’s name stake. Founded in 1935, Bernard Diochon took over running the Domaine from his father in 1967. The vineyards are 50 – 80 years old and situated on granite slopes (pink granite, sandstone, with a manganese-rich-sub-soil) with an east by southeast sun exposure. The Domaine produces their Beaujolais wines using the ancestral methods of whole cluster fermentation, aging in old wood foudres, and bottling unfined and unfiltered in the springtime. In 2007, Bernard retired with no heirs. He appointed Thomas Patenôtre heir apparent, and the Diochon tradition continues employing ancestral methods to produce their signature style wines.
Medium ruby in color with aromas of cherry, red currant, violet, and spices. On the palate, dry with medium(+) body, acidity, and tannins. Flavors of cherry, cassis, red plum, and minerals. Medium(+) finish. Drink it now, but has potential for aging.
2018 Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes, Côte-de-Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
13.5% abv | ~$23.00 | 100% Gamay
Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes was founded in 1861. Nicole Chanrion took over the Domaine from her father in 1988 and since has worked the entire domaine’s 6.5-hectare vineyards from vine to bottle. The 50-year-old vineyards are planted in soils composed of schist and porphyry. The wines are made using traditional methods; hand harvesting, whole cluster fermentation, aging in large oak foudres, and bottling unfiltered.
Medium ruby in color with aromas of cherry, raspberry, red currant, pomegranate, and violet. On the palate, dry with medium body and acidity, and medium(-) tannins. Flavors of juicy red fruit, cherry and raspberry, a soft velvety mouthfeel with a lingering impression of minerality. Drink now or in the next few years.
2017 Daniel Bouland Morgon Corcelette, Beaujolais, France
13.6% abv | ~$35.00 | 100% Gamay
Daniel Bouland is a fourth-generation Morgon grower; he organically farms his 8 hectares of vineyards. This wine comes from 60-80-year-old vines grown in pure sandy, granite soils. The wine is traditionally made; hand harvested, whole cluster fermentation, aging in large neutral oak, and no fining with a light filtration before bottling.
Medium ruby in color with aromas of plum, cherry, dried flowers, and spices. On the palate, dry with medium(+) body, tannins, and acidity. Flavors of cherry, cassis, plum, grilled meats, and forest floor. Medium(+) finish. Drink now, but has the potential to age.
2017 Maison Passot Les Rampaux, Chiroubles, Beaujolais, France
13% abv | ~$20.00 | 100% Gamay
Maison Passot is a family-owned estate with 11 hectares of Beaujolais vineyards in 4 different crus. The 50-year-old vines are on southeast-oriented slopes at 300-400 meters (the highest altitude in Beaujolais). The vineyard soils are sandy, degraded granite. The grapes are hand harvested and undergo primary and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and cement vats.
Medium ruby in color with aromas of cherry, plum, and dried flowers. On the palate, medium body, tannins, and acidity. Flavors of cherry, raspberry, cranberry, and peony on the finish. Drink now, but has the potential to age.
Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape. The wines are light to medium in style with high acidity, making them food-friendly. I always think of Beaujolais wines being served in French bistros with easy, comfort bistro-style foods.
I paired the Moulin-à-Vent and the Côte de Brouilly with a Chicken Wild Rice Hot Dish and a simple salad. This is comfort food at its best (especially if you grew up in the Midwest) with tender chicken, earthy leeks, herbs, and cheese topped off with crisp Panko crust. The elements in the dish play to the medium-bodied wines with fresh acidity and mineral notes. My favorite was the Côte de Brouilly, with its soft velvety mouthfeel complimenting the texture of the chicken and cheesy sauce.
In the second pairing, I made a mixed platter of grilled pork sausages and served it over Ina Garten’s French Flageolet Beans and a beet salad on the side. I added the Morgon for its full-bodied and rich profile. While all three Beaujolais wines paired well with the dish, the Morgon stood up to the richer, full-flavored pork sausages. Both the food and wine flavors were enhanced and elevated with the pairing.
- 1/2 cup natural wild rice
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more, at room temperature for the baking dish
- 2-1/2 cups leeks, white and green part only, cut into small dice
- 3 stalks celery, cut into a small dice
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast meat, roughly chopped
- 1 cup aged Gouda, grated
- 1/2 cup Gruyère, shredded
- 1-1/2 cups Panko crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the wild rice well in a fine-mesh sieve under cold water. Transfer the rice to a 2 qt. pot. Add 1-1/4 cups water, a pinch of salt, and the bay leaf. Bring to simmer. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender. (If water removes after rice is cooked, drain it in a sieve.)
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Rub a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with a thin layer of softened butter. Set aside.
Mix the cheeses together in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a plastic bag, add the Panko crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and olive oil. Shake to combine. Set aside.
While the rice cooks, heat the butter in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender about 8-10 minutes.
Add the flour to the vegetables and stir to combine. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer, stirring to prevent lumps. Add the cream, chicken stock, thyme, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and wild rice (minus the bay leaf), and half of the cheese mix. Stir to combine and heat until the cheese is melted.
Pour the chicken and rice mixture into the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese mix. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the Panko crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for another 25 minutes until the top is golden and the hot dish is bubbling in the center. Serve immediately.
Discover Cru Beaujolais with the French Winophiles ~
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm experiences A Casual COVID-19 Visit with Charcuterie and Chateau de Poncie Le Pre Roi Fleurie.
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla pairs Tuna Pâté + Joseph Drouhin Hospices De Belleville Brouilly 2016.
- Jill at L’Occasion explores Soil + Wind: Tasting Cru Beaujolais with Château du Moulin-à-Vent.
- Payal of Keep the Peas is Welcoming Summer with a Berry Delicious Brouilly.
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest honors Fleurie – The Queen of Beaujolais Crus.
- Jane at Always Ravenous explores Cru Beaujolais: Tasting and Food Pairings.
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! enjoys Cru Beaujolais at the Grill.
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares Flowers for Julien –Beaujolais in May.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass discovers Gamay and Granite – A Beaujolais Love Story.
- Susannah Gold at Avvinare finds Cru Beaujolais – An Endless Discovery.
- Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairing discovers Cru Beaujolais –Cedric Lathuiliere Fleurie Paired with Frog Legs.
- Nicole at Somms Table explains Julien Sunier Régnié and a Focaccia Fail.
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish meets Morgon de Jean-Pau Thévenet, One of the Beaujolais Gang of Four.
- Kat at The Corkscrew Concierge is Exploring the Differences & Pairing Versatility of Cru Beaujolais.
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog considers A Taste of Chénas, Beaujolais’ Rarest Cru.
- Terri of Our Good Life pairs Cru Beaujolais with Rustic Foods.
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator is Comparing Louis Tete’s 2016 Brouilly and Morgan Gamay from Beaujolais With Pairings.
- Over at Grape Experiences, Cindy is loving The Wines of Fleurie – An Enchanting Introduction to Cru Beaujolais.