As promised in my last blog, I was visiting the Beaujolais region which lies between Burgundy and the Northern Rhone. I think the Beaujolais would prefer to be on their own, but we’ll see.

Great drive from the Gard through the through the Vallee du Rhone, on through the lovely Ardeche and into Northern Rhone. Couldn’t resist stopping off at Michel Chapoutier’s Crozes Hermitage ‘Petite Ruche’ vineyard.  A stunning operation with almost as good quality at nearby Hermitage, but of course de not as good as the legendary Cote Rotie and Condrieu vineyards.

Only Syrah grapes permitted, showing blackcurrant and raspberry flavours, and finishing with a bit of pepper. Great visit. (Chapoutier Crozes Hermitages 2015 Waitrose £15.99)

Then into the Beaujolais and its 10 Crus. Julienas, Chiroubles, Regnie, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, China’s, Morgan, Moulin -a-Vent.

However, some may say it is 13, as you also have plain Beaujolais, Brouilly and Beaujolais Villages. What suits!

Virtually all wines are made from the low tannin Gamay grape, so don’t drink a 20 year old Beaujolais. 1% of Beaujolais are white using Chardonnay or Aligote, but I don’t think they are great.

I went to the Louis Tete winery at Saint-Didier- sur- Beaujeu, where they produce for Marks and Spencer.

Lovely efficient set-up which you would expect. Saint Amour at £13 and Brouilly at £12. As good as you get from Beaujolais.

The great thing about Beaujolais wines that they are better slightly chilled. Matt Walls in July’s Decanter has an excellent article about chilled red wines, and at what temperature they should be drunk.

I have more Beaujolais stories for next time. Then it’s back to UK!

This article first appeared in Hospitality and Catering News and the full article can be read here

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