A new group of ladies emerged from the land of Beaujolais, with an inaugural kickoff at Vinexpo in Bordeaux last week. Unique and specific, their portfolio of wines is a hit.
I met some of the woman behind Elles Et Beaujolais- they are a compelling force in the region.
5 women, 5 vineyards and 1 common spirit: quality, tradition and passion
These woman, whose families have made wine in Beaujolais for centuries, joined forces to share their wines, and promote the region. They are genuine entrepreneurs! (Ce sont de véritables chefs d’entreprise!)
Each of them touch all aspects of running a family winery, and then some. From vineyard to vinification, and sales and marketing to business development, they understand a stronger force comes by uniting.
Although the ladies at Vinexpo were winemakers, the group is about more than wine. Other Elles Et Beaujolais members include chefs, restaurateurs, bed and breakfast owners and more. One thing they have in common is a love for the region, its heritage, gastronomy, and of course, the wine.
When you live in an area for years, you get to know your neighbors and those farther away too. One introduction leads to another. Two conversations turn into three. Several of the women realized they could help each other be successful through the sharing of ideas and experiences- both positive and challenging. They all have thoughts about promoting not only the wine, selling, and exporting, but the Beaujolais region and its businesses. After discussions and acknowledging the feminine touch is different, Elle Et Beaujolais was established January 2014. It currently has 25 members.
One program the group is completing will commence September 2018. They are working with specific Beaujolais area teachers and schools to educate children on the process of growing grapevines, understanding the winemaking process, and responsible drinking.
Other ideas in the making include food and wine events, and wine tasting weekends. But understand these ladies are Gen Xers and millenials! They are confident, assertive and liberal in their approach while having a strong sense of local community. Who knows what other types of creative enotourism and gastronomy related events will surface.
What I do know after tasting their offerings is this: they’re producing stellar wines from Beaujolais AOC through Cru Beaujolais.
Beaujolais is about great wines that have their secrets
Beaujolais AOC wines (Beaujolais, Beaujolais Supérior, Beaujolais-Villages, and Beaujolais + named commune are all under the one AOC) are generally lighter to medium+ style and mostly red from the Gamay Noir grape. They have lively fruit and acidity with a blush of tannins. Reds from Beaujolais-Villages tend to have deeper berry fruit flavors and a core of minerality as the AOC zone lies on granitic soils.
And the Beaujolais Crus, they’re 100% red from Gamay Noir ranging from full-bodied and complex to delicate, floral and aromatic, with delicious fruit and great structure. Most have excellent aging potential. They’re all great with food.
The Beaujolais AOC is also about whites and rosés. Just a small amount and harder to find- about 4% of total wine production- Beaujolais Blanc and Rosé are worth the search!
The five Elles Et Beaujolais wineries who attended Vinexpo produce red, and a small about of white, rosé, and sparkling wine. (I was particularly stuck by the Beaujolais Blanc and Rosé- stay tuned for a future post!) The region, which is beautiful by the way, and its wines have made many a headline. The ladies in this group are taking those headlines mainstream.
What to Know About Beaujolais
- It’s both a geographical region in France and a wine appellation
- Primary grapes are Gamay Noir and Chardonnay, with a touch of Aligoté
- It can be fun, flirty and expressive or seriously delicate and smooth. It can show a powerfully intense masculine side or show up supple, tender and femininely fresh
- When enjoyed young they’re fresh, but they can age for years
- Common aromas of Beaujolais Rouge include red and black berries, red and black cherries, pepper, floral notes, and sometimes grapiness, bubble gum and slight banana due to carbonic and semi-carbonic maceration.
- Beaujolais is often slightly chilled for serving (54-58 °F / 12-14 °C)
- All colors of Beaujolais wine are great with a variety of foods
For more information:
Château des Pertonnières, Ghislaine Dupeuble
Les Terres De La Folie, Valerie Terrier-Jonnery
Château Moulin Favre, Céline Vernus
Château de Lacarelle, Céline-Audrey Vermorel
Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse, Chantal Pegaz-Gajowka
A special thank you to Vinconnexion and Michèle Piron!
— savortheharvest (@savortheharvest) June 28, 2017