Beaujolais, McLaren Vale

Located just south of Burgundy, the French wine region of Beaujolais covers an impressive area of 22,000 hectares between Mâcon and Lyon. Although this wine region was famous for being associated with dull, diluted wine in the past, its reputation has since only improved, proving their worth to wine lovers all over the world with their endless variety of wines, ranging from fresh and light to refined and lush wines. 98 percent of the vineyards here are made up of the famous Gamay grapes, with the exception of a small amount of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which are used to make white wines. Gamay grapes are known to make luscious red wines that have a light to medium body, moderate tannin, relatively low acidity and contain aromas of berries such as raspberry, tart cherry and cranberry. The region of Beaujolais is home to ten named village Crus: St Amour, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Chénas, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié (a Cru since 1988), Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. When compared to most other Beaujolais wines, the Crus of this region are more concentrated and have much more character and can be kept for up to ten years.

Beaujolais is blessed with a temperate climate and shares its summer weather with the Mediterranean Sea due to its close proximity, but the location is also interior enough to experience cold dry weather from the Northeast. The soil of Beaujolais is an important component in defining the different styles of wines in the region. Towards the south of the town of Villefrance, the soil is made up of sandstone or clay and limestone. In the north, the soils are comprised of granite or crystalline rock on the upper slopes, and in the lower slopes they are made up of stone and clay soils.
The McLaren Vale wine region is located less than an hours drive south of Adelaide, straight down the picturesque coastline.

Shiraz is by far the most widely planted variety, and the most important variety for the region, accounting for about 50% of the total crush. Every winery in the region will likely be producing at least one or more Shiraz wines, and with the wide range of unique terroirs available, each influenced by the maritime climate in unique ways, each Shiraz will have its own regional nuances.

Shiraz produced in McLaren Vale will often exhibit chocolate and coffee notes, with a little less pepper than those from Barossa Valley, and are often blended with Grenache. Other red varieties grown include Cabernet Sauvignon (and Merlot blends) Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Tannat and Zinfandel. The main white variety would be Chardonnay, however Sémillon and it's common blending partner Sauvignon Blanc are made, alongside lesser amounts of Riesling, Pronto Bianco, Vermentino and Fiano.

If you plan to visit McLaren Vale there are over 65 cellar doors so you'll be spoiled for choice, ranging from the small-boutique wineries to very large wineries. The drive from McLaren Vale up to the Barossa Valley is very scenic, passing over the rolling Adelaide Hills, and though the quaint German-settled town of Hahndorf.
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