Commercialized every year from the third Thursday in November at midnight, Beaujolais nouveau is the most known wine in the world. It is also a huge commercial success since 50 million bottles of Beaujolais nouveau are sold each year.
Located north of Lyons, this region is renowned for its production of good red wines of the gamay grape variety, immediately fruity and explosive. They keep seldom more than two years. These are Beaujolais, Beaujolais-villages and Beaujolais-Primeur.
Where does this fruity exuberance come from? It is the result of a particular method of wine production, called semi-carbonic soaking. After the grapes are harvested by hand to keep them in bunches, they are put in a closed vat, which is hermetically sealed and saturated with carbon dioxide. Grapes soak from 3 to 7 days in their bunches, without any pressurage before ending their fermentation in a classical manner. By this technique, the winegrower can acquire the maximum fruitiness in an easy, flexible wine free from tannins with the acidity of a fruit drop.
The region has 10 AOCs which can improve in bottle after a dozen years. Their qualities are still underestimated. These are: Moulin à Vent and Morgon - the most well-built - then Chénas, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, Régnié, Chiroubles, Juliénas, Brouilly and Côte-de-Brouilly. They rest on a terroir of broken down granite which easily filters rainwater.
The production of white wines remains marginal because of the grape varieties grown there: chardonnay and aligoté.