Wines: The Essential Guide to the Wines and Wine Growing Regions of France
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The Beaujolais Wine Trail
Between Mâcon and Lyon, you will discover
the lush slopes of the Beaujolais countryside, renowned all over
the world ever since an alert wine-merchant by the name of Georges
Duboeuf hit upon the idea of promoting Beaujolais nouveau by offering
it for consumption just a few weeks after the harvesting of the
grapes. It would however be a mistake to limit your pleasures
to Beaujolais nouveau: there are plenty of producers offering
a whole range of lively red wines, the best of which are well
worth the attention of the informed oenophile.
In terms of landscape, the traveller
will notice no change on his or her route from the south of Burgundy
to the Beaujolais country, now renowned throughout the world.
The region lies between Mâcon to the north and Lyon to the south,
and is bordered to the east by the Saône and to the west by the
foothills of the Massif Central.
In contrast to other grape-growing regions, Beaujolais
has the distinction of using almost exclusively just one variety
of grape (gamay) in its wines. The gamay grape does truly seem
to have found its preferred and natural home in this region with
its 23,000 hectares of vineyards. It is a relatively undemanding
variety which gives fresh and aromatic red wines pleasant to drink
even when still very young.
The region is very much orientated towards the foreign
market and exports 50% of its production. It has always been capable
of winning hearts and palates and, at the end of November each
year, there are always plenty of people who have a few glasses
of Beaujolais nouveau in a spirit of good-natured celebration...
A brief history
From Roman times to the present day,
grape-growing in Alsace has had a turbulent history.
In Alsace it is the grape variety, not
the area, which gives its name to the wine. Twelve different varieties
account for the region's wines, which are for the most part white.
In the wine-producing areas of Alsace
a distinction is drawn between the so-called regional appellation
areas and the 'grand cru' areas.
Following is a list (not intended to
be exhaustive) of Alsace 'grands crus', with in each case the
name of the nearest commune. The list starts in the north and
finishes in the south, so you can easily follow it on the map!
The beaujolais wine trail
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