I read last week that Beaujolais shipments to the UK had risen +18% year-on-year signalling a mini tidal wave of producer tastings, producer visits and generic body promotions.
In reality, the reason for this growth is surely no more than wine lovers realising that Beaujolais is actually part of Burgundy and that it’s signature red grape Gamay, is one of the most delicious varieties known to man… at a steal of a price!
Then of course there is the on going battle Burgundians face in pricing their minuscule production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay every year. Demand has long outstripped supply and prices have had to go in one inevitable direction… upwards.
But old vine Gamay, in the hands of a fanatical producer, and the ranks are growing, can produce absolute wines of wonder. With Cru Beaujolais from top producers like Yvon Metras, Lapalu, Lafarge, Ligier-Belair, Foillard, and Lapierre etc., you can easily drink 80-100 year old vieilles vignes Cru Gamay wines with the weight and concentration of 1er Cru Burgundy, and that show similar minerality, tension and complexity.
We all fear change. But in actual fact, life is based on change. We are born, we become adults, grow old and then depart for greener pastures. At every stage of our lives we are confronted with change. The wine world too is evolving and changing yearly. Fashions change, consumers migrate between styles, and unloved regions suddenly become hip as drinkers discover their quality offerings.
What is certain, is that now is the best time to immerse yourself into the world of fine Grower Cru Beaujolais, because like all things of quality, it’s popularity will reach an apex soon and then prices will have to rise. But at least you will be able to say you had drunk your fill!