Something wonderful took place last Thursday and to most of us it went by unnoticed. This year’s Beaujolais Nouveau was released and is now available for purchase! Traditionally released on the 3rd Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine whose release is celebrated across France. I think it is so nice of the French to release the most wonderful smelling wine ever (in my opinion) just in time for Thanksgiving, and it goes wonderfully with the popular meal of the day – Turkey!
But where do these grapes come from and why should you visit the Beaujolais region of France?
Lying north of Lyon in the Rhone-Alpes and Burgundy regions is the home of Beaujolais. Often forgotten by tourists, this region is known for its green hills, flowery villages, interesting geology, architecture, wine and over 1500 km of walking trails. Wandering Beaujolais you will find delicious and affordable wines and vineyards dotting the gorgeous countryside.
Here are some of the reasons you might want to add the Beaujolais to your next visit to France!
The scenery of the region is quite varied. In the north you will find dense dark forests of fir trees while the south starts to shine as soon as the sun rises! They say this part of the Beaujolais has the feel of a Tuscan village and if it’s true, its largely because of the Stone! Everything from houses, chateaux and churches are built in the golden colored stone of the region. The contrast of the gleaming stone against the green countryside is amazing.
The Beaujolais region is covered by vines along its 34 mile length. Between the red wines from the Gamay grapes to the white Chardonnay, there is something for every taste. Beaujolais Nouveau can be found in the southern part while the other 10 crus are more in the northern portion. A great way to experience the region, including tasting the wine, is to follow the Beaujolais Wine Route. In fact, there are 7 GPS audio-guided tours to help you discover the Beaujolais region, its villages and wines!
The Hameau Duboeuf
Speaking of wine, there is an actual theme park dedicated to wine and vine especially of this region! The Hameau Duboeuf takes visitors on an exploration of winemaking’s 2,000 year history. You can explore the ways trains helped transport the wine, understand how geology and grape varieties affect the tastes, learn about corking, discover how to make wine and, of course, taste some wine!
From Beaujeu, in the north, the historic capital of the region with an oil mill to the medieval beauty of Oingt in the south, this region’s villages will not disappoint! Visiting the Beaujolais region you will find charming hilltop villages offering panoramas which will delight everyone. Traveling the region, you will also come upon many Chateaux including the Chateau de Bagnols which is now a world class hotel. Near Romaneche-Thorins there is a 17th century windmill with amazing views of the Saône. Yes from drawbridges, local craftsmen, ancient chapels and river valleys, the villages of Beaujolais make for a very peaceful, beautiful and delightful experience!
Those are a few of the reasons to visit the Beaujolais. Now go out and grab some Beaujolais Nouveau to personally sample a little of the region!