To the south of Burgundy, Beaujolais is still overlooked by many travelers to France, who head for more-status-soaked appellations. In many ways, though, the scenery and character of the Saône Valley are just as picturesque and inviting as the more-visited areas. The Beaujolais wine path winds among many of the area’s small vineyards, and at Hameau Duboeuf, renowned wine négociant Georges Duboeuf has fashioned an old railroad station into an outstanding wine-focused visitors center.
The success of simple and fruity Beaujolais Nouveau has been a mixed blessing for the region, giving it a reputation for basic, uninteresting wines. But Beaujolais makes serious, attention-grabbing wines as well, based mostly on the Gamay grape. Opt for Cru Beaujolais, made from the area’s best vineyard sites. In order from north to south, they are St. Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly (my favorite) and Regnié. Even top wines from Beaujolais tend to be excellent values.
Wine-themed Road Trip
One of our all-time favorite wine-themed road trips took us from Paris to Provence, with stops en route at Chablis, the Côte d’Or and Beaujolais.