Beaujolais is famous for its vin en primeur, fermented for just a few weeks before being released on sale during November. The craze for Beaujolais Nouveau table wine started in Paris three decades ago. Nowadays, Beaujolais Nouveau counts for just one third of the annual production of Beaujolais wine. Wine drinkers are gradually becoming aware of the potential of the Gamay grape to produce red wines of finesse, yet light enough to pair with white meat and even fish.
The narrow strip of Beaujolais vineyards start about 40km (25 miles) north of Lyon and finish just South of Mâcon. Though wine lovers tend to include this wine-producing region as part of Greater Burgundy, geographically speaking, Beaujolais belongs to the Rhône region. This small, hilly wine region punches above its size: producing around 190 million bottles of wine every year and boasting more castles than Bordeaux. While Northern Beaujolais is where the serious Cru appellation wines are grown, Southern Beaujolais is famed for its warm-hued stone houses that have earned it the name: “Land of the Golden Stones.”
Unlike Alsace, with its Route du Vin, Beaujolais country doesn’t have a defined route. You can branch off in any direction from the A6 highway, stopping whenever you desire as there are clear road signs.