The Beaujolais Boys

A quiet revolution is taking place in Beaujolais. Looking to capitalise on the success of the much-lauded 2009 vintage are a troop of dynamic young winemakers, aged between 25-35, who are re-energising the region with their experimental, forward-thinking approach and determination to make characterful wines with a sense of place.

Not only are they poster boys for the region; they’re an exciting sign of things to come. With their enthusiasm and fearlessness, this new wave of winemakers – spearheaded by the likes of Moulin-à-Vent-based minimum interventionist Richard Rottiers and Julien Sunier, who practises organics across his three one-hectare old vine vineyards in Fleurie, Morgon and Régnié – have the potential to give Beaujolais the much-needed makeover it deserves, and send the region in a very exciting direction.

Move over The Douro Boys, The Beaujolais Boys have arrived.

Read on for a profile of 10 young winemakers to watch and let us know which one’s your favourite in the comments box below.

Charly Thévenet

Age: 28

With his poster-boy good looks, Charly Thévenet would look more at home on a catwalk than in a vineyard, but the 28-year-old couldn’t be more serious about wine.

He keeps things simple, producing just one wine – a 100% Gamay from three hectares of 80-year-old vines in Régnié.

The resulting Grain & Granite, which is aged for four years in old Burgundian barriques then bottled unfiltered, has already caught the eye of American wine author and importer Kermit Lynch, who has snapped it up for the US market.

The son of famous “Gang of Four” Morgon producer Jean-Paul Thévenet, Charly, who worked a harvest with Piedmont producer Luigi Pira before a stint with the late “Pope of natural wine” Marcel Lapierre in Morgon, chose Régnié as his canvas because he believes the lesser-known, terroir-driven cru has tremendous potential, the pink granite soils producing aromatic wines with a mineral core that show a good balance between freshness, solid acidity and structure.

“I wanted to do something different and put Régnié on the map,” he says. “It’s an exciting time for Beaujolais. There’s a lot of unity between the younger generation and more of an open door philosophy.”

3 Responses to “The Beaujolais Boys”

  1. Gosh so much passion abounding! Great news for Beaujolais and just what it needs to freshen up its image.
    I did smile to myself though as I wondered what the reaction would be if it was a line up of 10 young female winemakers treated in the same way – you’d never get away with it 🙂

  2. I love drinking good Beaujolais and am so glad to see the new generation moving ahead and respecting the terroir and the grape..Foillard, Lapierre,Thivin.Brun have shown just what the region can do and now we have more to look forward to….go Gamay!!!

  3. I went on a 3 day study tour with Harpers/Inter Beaujolais recently. The quality and passion shown by the younger generation was paramount. A willingness to experiment whilst maintaining a very high standard for the appellations wines. Consistency was key too across the climats.
    Paul Henry Thillardon, Christophe LaPierre and Romain Jambon are not only taking the reins of Beaujolais but are all old school mates who are sharing their knowledge between them with their wines and production.
    Keep an eye out central Burgundy. Your noisy, southern neighbour is coming.

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