The spirited wines of Beaujolais are born of handpicked grapes that are vatted whole, using winemaking methods unique to the region.
While Beaujolais does produce a small amount of whites and rosés, the region is best known for its versatile reds. Lighter in body than most, Beaujolais reds taste great when chilled, making them as popular in the warmer months as they are during the winter.
There are 12 different Beaujolais appellations, 10 of which are known as Crus. The 10 Crus are the region's most celebrated wines, and each is unique thanks to its terroir (combination of soil, vine and climate characteristics).
For novices in wine, the lighter Crus like Chiroubles and Fleurie are a great place to start, while fuller-bodied Beaujolais like Chénas and Moulin-à-Vent take a little more experience to appreciate fully.
The official release date for the Beaujolais Crus is March 15, with the exception of Saint-Amour, which comes out on February 1. It takes until the following spring for the aromas and flavors to develop completely. The producers prefer to let the wines mature until March or April before bottling. Once bottled, most Beaujolais wines need to age at least two years to achieve their full potential.