The Beaujolais

Geography

Extending along 55 Km from south to north, the Beaujolais region is enclosed between Lyon and Mâcon. Leaning up against the last foothills of the Massif Central to the west, the region seems to slide eastwards down to the Saône River plain. In our vineyard, vines closely carpet the slopes that change colour with the seasons. Clinging to the gentle to not so gentle gradients of our hills, the vines are never planted on the plain so that nothing of the excellent sunshine and luminosity we have here is lost. While the soils they send their roots down into also contribute their many qualities.

Generally northeast to southwest facing, the rows of vines coat the Beaujolais hills at an average height above sea level of 300 m under peaks that go up as far as 1000m. Influenced by this topog-raphy, where water abounds, Beaujolais vinegrowing fits itself to the singular geological characteristics here including shallow limestone-clay and sandstone soils in the south, crystalline soils that are light and acidic on the heights and granitic terrain in the north.

Climate

Though it's not exceptional to be sudden changes in the weather here and with winters that are sometimes harsh, the Beaujolais region makes the most of a temperate climate that falls under three separate sets of influence. In winter, continental currents are a contributing factor in causing the frosts that can sometimes spread to spring. It's better to cover up and wait for the light winds from the ocean that, between seasons, stir up the regulating role of the River Saône and soften the temperature differences.

With the return of the summer come winds from the Mediterranean. This is when the Haut Beaujolais mountain chain is particularly good for protecting the vines and encourages the foehn wind that comes from the west which is heated and dried in summer as it passes over the peaks of the Beaujolais hills to go down to the Beaujolais plains.

Exposed to light rains, the vineyard can be subject to very high temperatures that will probably raise further with global warming. Although these long summer droughts are definitely favourable to the quality of the wine they can also be behind some quite devastating storms.