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The Society’s Beaujolais-Villages 2015

Red Wine from France - Beaujolais
Superb example of Beaujolais-Villages from the ripe 2015 vintage. An abundantly fruity and aromatic gamay with attractive freshness.
is no longer available
Code: BJ7061

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Light to medium-bodied
  • Gamay
  • 13% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Screwcap

Beaujolais

At its best, there is little that can match Beaujolais' fragrant, sappy, fruity flavours. Beaujolais tends to be a delight to drink upon release; indeed, extolling the wines' youthful virtues has been hugely successful.

At one time more than half the crop of this region was hurriedly fermented and sold as Beaujolais Nouveau, released on the third Thursday of November and raced to market in as many inventive ways as possible. Its cheap price and fun image made it popular for a while but, inevitably, quality suffered and Nouveau fell out of fashion in the face of new world competition.

Away from Beaujolais Nouveau, another kind of Beaujolais continued to be made, often using very traditional methods of production and reflecting a complexity of terroir that still comes as something of a surprise.

Beaujolais lies between the towns of Mâcon and Lyon with most of the vineyard confusingly coming into the Département du Rhône. The vast majority of the region's 18,500 hectares ...

At its best, there is little that can match Beaujolais' fragrant, sappy, fruity flavours. Beaujolais tends to be a delight to drink upon release; indeed, extolling the wines' youthful virtues has been hugely successful.

At one time more than half the crop of this region was hurriedly fermented and sold as Beaujolais Nouveau, released on the third Thursday of November and raced to market in as many inventive ways as possible. Its cheap price and fun image made it popular for a while but, inevitably, quality suffered and Nouveau fell out of fashion in the face of new world competition.

Away from Beaujolais Nouveau, another kind of Beaujolais continued to be made, often using very traditional methods of production and reflecting a complexity of terroir that still comes as something of a surprise.

Beaujolais lies between the towns of Mâcon and Lyon with most of the vineyard confusingly coming into the Département du Rhône. The vast majority of the region's 18,500 hectares is planted with a single red grape: gamay, or to be more precise, gamay noir à jus blanc. Often densely planted to help control the vines vigour, and therefore yields, trained low and pruned hard, they are need at least a short spell of real heat to ripen properly. In terms of soil, gamay does not do well on sedimentary rock types. Much of Beaujolais is granite with outcrops of schist in part of Morgon or Andesites in the Cote de Brouilly.

A little over 200 hectares is planted with chardonnay, which is growing in popularity because it is easier to sell and can be turned into sparkling Cremant de Bourgogne. White Beaujolais is sold either as Beaujolais blanc or Beaujolais-Villages blanc, and the best comes areas with chalk in the soil.

Below is a list of the appellations, but it is worth mentioning that the most important factor in the wines' quality is the grower.

Beaujolais: Mostly from the south where the soils are often of a limestone called pierres dorées, which makes excellent building material. But there are granites as well and a great many styles of wine possible though a major part of the productions continues to be made as Nouveau.

Beaujolais-Villages: These wines come from the north and are set among the ten crus and planted on the same granitic soils. 38 parishes are allowed to produce Beaujolais-Villages. They offer a midway point between generic Beaujolais and the greater complexity of the crus.

The ten crus, from north to south, are: Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. Each have their own unique variation on the local geology and topography, climatic conditions and character; from the light, fragrant Chiroubles to the richer, more concentrated Moulin-à-Vent with its ability to age and comparison in great years with top Burgundies.

Within these crus are specific vineyards, or climats, with deserved reputations for high-quality, such as Poncié in Fleurie or Côte du Py in Morgon. For a more thorough examination of these crus and their characteristic traits please see our How to Buy Beaujolais guide in the Wine World & News section of our website.

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Les Vins Aujoux

This is the source of the bulk of our Beaujolais for the last 50 years, and many members will also have tried the fruits of The Society’s work with this excellent Beaujolais-based négoce in the form of our bestselling white wine, The Society’s White Burgundy, sourced from the Mâcon.

Dealing with a négociant allows The Wine Society to pick and choose, often blending together from different estates in order to end up with a wine that is better than any of its parts.

Négoces have had a huge part to play in the recent history of Beaujolais, some of it not so good but some of it very positive. For all its apparent simplicity, Beaujolais is a complicated region that is often the victim of its own capricious climate with late frosts and violent hailstorms a common recurrence.

The one name that stands out for us is Dépagneux: Jean Dépagneux was the last of this illustrious merchant family who, with his partners, bought up a list of ailing names such as Aujoux, which had made its name selling Beaujolais to the once profitable Swiss market. Jean retired about a dozen years ago and his place was taken by a young and talented oenologist from Viré called Jean-Marc Darbon. One consequence of the change has been the meteoric rise in the quality of The Society’s White Burgundy.

Since 2002 Les Vins Aujoux have operated an office in the Languedoc-Roussillon in the deep south of France, sourcing a range of wines.

Beaujolais 2015

Beaujolais 2015 is quite a heterogenous vintage with a number of different styles of wine, some more successful than others. It was a hot and dry year with less rain than in the Côte D’Or. There was some water stress and some ripening by concentration in early September as hot southern winds evaporated the water in the grapes by 10-15%.

There are some wines saved by high altitude, like some bits of Fleurie and Chiroubles, and others where there is a lot of clay in the soil, Morgon Grand Cras and Moulin-a-Vent Les Perelles, and others where the vignerons picked early, around 26 August, which taste like a normal ripe year.

This was not the year to extract a lot of structure. The grapes had so much colour and fruit that it was best to allow this to flow out of the grapes without extraction or thermovinification. There are quite a few basic Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages which are dry and thick tasting. There was also a problem in some crus like Morgon where there has been a...
Beaujolais 2015 is quite a heterogenous vintage with a number of different styles of wine, some more successful than others. It was a hot and dry year with less rain than in the Côte D’Or. There was some water stress and some ripening by concentration in early September as hot southern winds evaporated the water in the grapes by 10-15%.

There are some wines saved by high altitude, like some bits of Fleurie and Chiroubles, and others where there is a lot of clay in the soil, Morgon Grand Cras and Moulin-a-Vent Les Perelles, and others where the vignerons picked early, around 26 August, which taste like a normal ripe year.

This was not the year to extract a lot of structure. The grapes had so much colour and fruit that it was best to allow this to flow out of the grapes without extraction or thermovinification. There are quite a few basic Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages which are dry and thick tasting. There was also a problem in some crus like Morgon where there has been a proliferation of the spoilage yeast brettanomyces, where everything tastes like horse manure.

There are also a few wines of incredible richness and power, with high alcohol, up to 15%, a lot of ripe tannins and excellent acidity, up to 5g/l, which is the acidity of an unripe year, 4g/l would be more normal. These are rich, full, and more Rhône-like, but better balanced and potentially much better than the lower acidity years 2009 and 2003, though a few of these are holding up very well.
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2015 vintage reviews
2014 vintage reviews
2011 vintage reviews

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