Beaujolais and Beyond - a rich history of distinctive wines

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Bottle of 2010 Beaujolais La Centenaire

2010 Beaujolais La Centenaire

Producer:
Jean Baptiste Charmet
Bottle Price:
£10.90
Case Price:
£130.80
Alcohol:
12.5%
Closure:
Twintop
Wine Style:
Smooth and elegant French red wine

Tasting note

A soft and elegantly aromatic wine, conspicuously Gamay in style with a delightful finish. A very enticing and truly special Beaujolais.

Wine Making

Jean Baptiste's flagship wine made from handpicked 'over-ripe' grapes from 100 year old vines. He suggests these wines have the ability to age for 5 to 8 years - but we think they are perfect for enjoying now!

Jean Baptiste Charmet
Jean Baptiste with his father Lucien, the trophies testament to the quality of their wines.

Producer: Jean Baptiste Charmet

We have known the Charmet family through three generations, but the Charmet family first came to La Ronze at La Breuil in 1650. We were first introduced to Pierre Charmet, a friend of the Carron family in the late 70s, but two decades ago he handed over the reins to his son Lucien who subsequently featured in a television documentary with Jancis Robinson and today the vineyards are in the hands of Jean-Baptiste.  

There is something very special about all of the Charmet wines which are attributed to the specific terroir that gives them a complexity, elegance and subtlety more akin to Beaujolais Crus than to simple Beaujolais. In addition to the terroir, Jean Baptiste attributes the quality of his wine to a method of trellising developed by his grandfather which results in high quality grapes that minimise the need for chaptalisation the results are very evident in the quality of the wines they produce.

Other wines
by this producer

Bottle of 2010 Beaujolais Blanc d’Or

2010 Beaujolais Blanc d’Or

Bottle price:
£11.15

Case price:
£133.80

More info

Beaujolais Wines

Area cultivated:
6,544 hectares under vine with 1,800 producers
Average annual production:
43,700,000 bottles
AOC decree:
12th September 1937

​A true Beaujolais should be light, fresh, aromatic and purple in youth – inviting but completely unpretentious. It should always be drunk young and never laid down.  

The soil in the Beaujolais appellation region is sedimentary clay and limestone and differs from the granitic soil of the Beaujolais-Villages and Crus Beaujolais vineyards. There are also differences in the pruning requirements, alcoholic strength and production per hectare which are more lenient than for the other Beaujolais appellations.  For example only vineyards under the Beaujolais appellations are allowed to train the vines along trellises and use the Guyot pruning system.

The South, or Bas Beaujolais as it is known, has a picturesque green landscape of gently undulating hills interspersed with golden yellow buildings for the Pierre Dorées or Golden Stones which abound in the region. The Pierre Dorées are sandstone that  were laid down in the Secondary Era (between 30 and 70 million years ago) from the remains of sea life when Beaujolais was covered by sea.  

Life is altogether more relaxed and simple here than in the North yet many growers take the same pride in the product of their vineyards and individually many superb wines are to be found. Because the fruit of the Gamay on this soil vinifies quickly,  special regulations exist for the sale of Beaujolais Nouveau from the third Thursday of November. There is such a huge Worldwide following for this exciting wine that in excess of 50% of the entire production is sold by Christmas.

Although the juice of the Gamay is white no white wine can be made from it. Nonetheless Beaujolais does produce at white wine of great distinction but not from its native Gamay rather from the Chardonnay grape whose natural home is in the neighbouring Mâconnais. This is the only white wine entitled to a Beaujolais appellation that is not made from the Gamay. It is a wine which is clean and fresh and very popular although the volume produce is very limited amounting to not more than 1,500,000 bottles per year.  

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Beaujolais vineyards
Beaujolais vineyards at harvest

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