The Beaujolais region covers a 45 mile long stretch of mainly granite hills, south of Macon in south Burgunday, and it has a long history of winemaking dating back to the Romans. There are more than 96 villages in Beaujolais, covered by 12 appellations. These include the 10 crus, named after the villages in which they are produced, each having their own distinctive style.
The main grape used in the region is the Gamay grape,known for making soft, juicy and fruity reds, which are lightish in body. Only a small percentage of the output comes from white wines, and these mainly made from Chardonnay grapes, although Aligote is also allowed. Beaujolais is traditionally made by carbonic maceration. This low key fermentation process preserves the characteristic nature of the fruit, and softens the wine.
Wine expert Karen MacNeil has described Beaujolais as "the only white that
happens to be red," and similarly, Beaujolais is often served lightly chilled. It
can be drunk with a variety of dishes, depending on which Beaujolais you choose. For example, Beaujolais villages is best with light dishes and salads, while a top crus will pair well with heavy stews and other meat dishes.
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