Beaujolais back on the road?

by Eve Resnick on September 1, 2009

in General

Readers of Wine Brands might remember I opened the book through the story of the worldwide celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau. It happens that Beaujolais Nouveau’s international success became a curse for the image of the good Beaujolais wines. In his article “Taking on the Beaujolais Clichés” in his blog The Pour, Eric Asimov stated clearly the problem of the Beaujolais wines and region: “For decades if not centuries, we have thought of Beaujolais as a simple, light-hearted, fun, good-doggy kind of wine. All you have to do is tap the Beaujolais button on the keyboard and the clichés spew forth.”

Is it still true? Mostly certainly for some Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages but not anymore for some nice and “artisanal” wines, according (still) to Eric Asimov: “The best of these wines retain the joyousness that is at the heart of the gamay grape, but it is time to recognize that they are much more than that. They are complex, multi-layered, graceful, delicious wines that are nonetheless true to the spirit of Beaujolais.”

Beaujolais was a lot in the French news lately. It was suggested that Beaujolais got included in the neighboring Burgundy region. The project did not please the Burgundy producers and might be rejected or abandoned at the end. Whether the idea is legitimate or not is not for me to say but the reaction to the project showed clearly how the image of Beaujolais as a generic brand is poor among wine professionals and consumers.

Fortunately Beaujolais producers are resourceful and energetic. That’s why they organize a 3-day trip to their region for wine professionals and journalists that will take place in October. The purpose of this trip is to present the region, organize tastings and meetings with local producers – in one word, educate. The trip will be conducted by Aurélie Labruyère, wine consultant and author of many books on wines. Their hope? Change the image of the Beaujolais wines in the mind of the “gate openers” and lead back serious wine consumers to their wines.

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