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This postcard-pretty wine region punches above its diminutive size. Not only does it produce an impressive 190 million bottles of wine every year, but it also boasts more castles owned by aristocratic dynasties than Bordeaux.

Beaujolais rose to international fame through its barely fermented vin en primeur. The craze for Beaujolais Nouveau table wine started in Paris 3 decades ago. Nowadays, Beaujolais Nouveau counts for just 1/3 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. 

Though wine lovers tend to include this wine-producing region as part of Greater Burgundy, geographically speaking, Beaujolais belongs to the Rhône region. From north of Lyon and to south of Mâcon, the narrow strip of Beaujolais country branches out with no defined wine route. Luckily the road signs are clear so you can branch off easily in any direction from the A6 highway. If you’re in doubt, simply follow the signs to the region’s capital and commercial center, Villefranche-sur-Saône.