More than 4000 winemakers work in the idyllic setting of the Beaujolais area, which is part of the large Burgundy wine region.
The only authorised and controlled grape in the Beaujolais is the black Gamay with white juice, to give it its official term, which thrives especially on a generally schistose, rocky and sometimes sandier soil. The gamay as opposed to other red grape varieties, gives a good yield from this soil which is not generally suitable for cultivation and seems to adapt to it perfectly. It is a grape with a happy, fresh, lively and fruity character.
The Beaujolais has been the only region in France to succeed in making the wine, bottling it and commercialising a third of its production within the three months following the grape harvest (commercialised from the third Thursday in November) under the well known name of “Beaujolais Primeur”.
Originally aiming for the Parisian market, the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau became a huge international operation during the seventies and eighties. A commercial operation in a manner of speaking because if it is good for the bank accounts it has not proved to be very advantageous for the Beaujolais area as a whole. Beaujolais was quickly assimilated to the Beaujolais Nouveau, a wine made by “chemists” some would say, because it just isn’t “ready”….hence an overdone technical intervention is necessary to stabilize the wine for bottling and transport.
Certainly twenty years ago this new wine was an occasion for everyone to rejoice and taste it amongst friends…..and also for the restaurant owners it was a time for celebration and work. One would go to the restaurant to taste the “Beaujolais Nouveau” until finally, and unfortunately, all eyes turned away from the Beaujolais and it is currently going through quite a painful economic crisis.
The former success of the Beaujolais Nouveau, because of its widespread mediocrity, has harmed the reputation of the Beaujolais vineyards.
It really would be a shame to only consider the Beaujolais with reference to this new wine which is often of a poor quality.
So it is better to forget as quickly as possible the Beaujolais Nouveau and remember that the Beaujolais is a region of delicious, flavoured and structured wines which deserve all our attention.
The real treasures of the Beaujolais, on top of its landscapes of hills, little adventurous winding roads and small secluded villages, are its ten wines.
In 2008 (the harvest of 2007) the Chateau of Durette proposes four of these wines:
• the Regnie
• the Cote de Brouilly
• the Chenas
• and the Julienas
Each of these wines has its own characteristic, even if they are all part of the same Beaujolais family: full of flavour, tasty, structured and well-rounded. They are red wines that could be qualified as “feminine” because their success with the ladies is remarkable!
“We cultivate the vines on many of the Beaujolais lands. The major part of the Regnie vines spread along the hillside, behind the castle. A little further on you can see the Mont Brouilly where the grapes used to produce the Cote de Brouilly are grown. Going further up the road towards Moulin a Vent, you go by Chenas where you can see the Julienas vineyards on the opposite hill right next to the Saint Amour vineyard.”