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Beaujolais Guide

The best Beaujolais comes from independent traditionalist producers in the top crus—the third wave of a movement begun by Jules Chauvet some 40 years ago. These wines are incredibly underpriced for the quality they offer, but they are produced in tiny quantities, so they can be hard to find (try wine-searcher.com or 1000corks.com).

The Prophet

Jules Chauvet

The father of the French natural-wine movement. Chauvet took a stand against the trend toward mass-produced, industrial Beaujolais.

The Acolytes

Jean Foillard

Like the others, Foillard uses little to no sulfur in his wines.

Marcel Lapierre

The late Lapierre set the standard for great Morgon.

Guy Breton

Breton makes wines in Régnié, the newest cru, as well as in Morgon.

Jean-Paul Thévenet

Thévenet farms his vineyards biodynamically.

The Flock

Julien Sunier

After spending his twenties surfing and working harvests in California and New Zealand, Sunier founded his own domaine in 2008. His juicily intense wines have quickly acquired a cult following. Wine: 2011 Julien Sunier Fleurie ($25)

Dominique Piron

Piron produces a broad range of wines, from basic Beaujolais Villages to cru bottlings from Morgon, Chénas and Moulin-à-Vent. Wine: 2010 Domaine Piron-Lameloise Quartz Chénas ($20)

Louis-Benoît & Claude-Emmanuelle Desvignes

This brother and sister make fragrant, impeccably balanced organic wines from vineyards that are 70 years old on average. Wine: 2011 Louis Claude Desvignes Javernières Morgon ($30)

Daniel Bouland

From his base in Morgon, Bouland creates wines from several different crus, all of them extremely good. This one, from a plot of vines planted in 1926, has the backbone to age for at least a decade. Wine: 2011 Daniel Bouland Delys Morgon ($26)

Charly Thévenet

The son of Morgon’s Jean-Paul Thévenet, Charly Thévenet makes this earthy red in the neighboring cru of Régnié. Wine: 2010 Charly Thévenet Grain & Granit Régnié ($32)

Cyril Alonso & Florian Looze

These two friends, who work as négociants as well as winemakers, offer a range of unsulfured and unmanipulated wines from some of France’s most well-known regions; their Beaujolais bottling is fresh and peppery. Wine: 2011 P-U-R Quartz et Sable Beaujolais Villages ($16)

Cédric Vincent

Vincent’s basic village wine comes from 35- to 90-year-old vines and equals a top cru bottling in complexity and depth. Wine: 2010 Cédric Vincent Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Rouge ($21)

Damien Coquelet

Coquelet, who is only 26, would have been too young to drink in the US when he made the first of his graceful, fragrant wines back in 2007. Wine: 2010 Damien Coquelet Chiroubles ($23)

Published May 2013
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