In sheep’s clothing
The gamay beaujolais grape grown in many parts of Southern parts of California is not, in fact related to gamay at all but is a distant clone of pinot noir. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) in the USA has banned use of the name (in between launching assaults on Waco-like compounds) but it doesn’t stop some of the madder American winemakers from labelling their pinot noir as gamay beaujolais.
Beaujolais is an integral part of Burgundy, not just a neighbour, occupying the most southerly district of the region, some 4oo kilometres from Paris. Its contrast to wines produced in the rest of the region comes down simply to the fact that gamay, rather than pinot, is the main grape used.
Count to ten
The crus of beaujolais are as follows: Brouilly, Chenas, Chiroubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-vent, St-Amour. Of these the best known are Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie and Moulin-a-Vent.
This article was published on 1st August 2011 so certain details may not be up to date.