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The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary

Beaujolais

Beaujolais is the classic expression of the Gamay grape. These red wines (labeled simply “Beaujolais”) are approachable, grapey, and fun – ideal for low-pressure sipping. Beaujolais-Villages is a step up. Compared to basic Beaujolais, the rules for Beaujolais-Villages wines are more strict. Villages wine is produced in far smaller quantities. Beaujolais Nouveau is perhaps the most gulpable wine made anywhere, and it should be drunk very soon after its release, which occurs each year on the third Thursday of November. Beaujolais Blanc is most often made from Chardonnay. Aligoté is allowed in the Beaujolais region as well, but Aligoté-based Beaujolais Blanc is a rarity. Like many wine regions, Beaujolais vinifies the versatile Chardonnay grape in a variety of styles. Cru Beaujolais is the highest quality designation in the region, and the most exciting bottles of Beaujolais tend to come from the ten Crus. Each of these appellations has its own distinctive character. Below, a bit of background on our three favorite Crus: Fleurie - In the vast, baffling world of wine terminology, you will rarely find anything this easy to remember: Fleurie makes flowery wines. Enjoy that little nugget. Morgon - With a bit of aging, sometimes a great bottle of Beaujolais will come to resemble a great red Burgundy. In Morgon, this happens so often that the French word for the process is “morgonner.” (You know you've really made it as an appellation when people start using your name as a verb.) Chiroubles - Though they’re a big jump up from basic Beaujolais in quality, wines from Chiroubles are exceptionally easy-drinking. They tend to be refreshing, floral wines that don't require much aging and are ready to drink as soon as they are released. Those are the Beaujolais Crus we're most excited about these days. The remaining Crus are Brouilly, Chénas, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié, and St.-Amour – but in the interest of keeping Beaujolais fun, we're going to stop here and let you explore the region on your own!