Beaujolais closes in on ‘climat’ recognition

12th June, 2017 by Rupert Millar

Beaujolais is closing in on officially recognised ‘climats’ as it continues to pursue geological and terroir studies, which the regional interprofession hopes will lead to ‘premier cru’ designations in the near future.

Mont Brouilly - (Image © Franck Lechenet)Speaking to the drinks business at the recent Beaujolais trade tasting, Jean Bourjade the general manager of Inter-Beaujolais remarked that there were an increasing number of wines bearing the names of ‘lieux dits’ – specific sites in their vineyards.

“It wasn’t an exception in the past but it’s more normal now,” he said, adding that the region was moving towards each of the 10 crus receving the more official recognition of climats and, eventually, the elevation of at least a few of them to premier crus as well.

That latter stage is still some years away he said but an important step would be the recognition of climats by the Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité (INAO).

“Once we have a climat officially recognised we can focus on premier crus,” he said.

In order to help make the case he went on, the region was, “still pursuing our terroir study and geological investigation and we’re encouraging growers to sit and taste together to discuss their wines and typicity.”

This latter point is very important because while Inter-Beaujolais can provide a framework around which growers can build their case for recognition of climat and then, possibly, premier cru status from the INAO – it’s down to the producers themselves to put that case forward in the end.

As such, while originally there was a hope thateach of the cru would advance along the path to premier cru status at a similar pace, that has quickly been abandoned so that the motivation of producers in each cru will determine how quickly (or not) they progress.

“If one stands still but sees others moving [ahead of them], hopefully it will motivate them.”

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