The climate is semi-continental, influenced from the south by the Mediterranean Sea. The region is warmer than Burgundy in summer, with temperatures averaging 22-30C, the grapes fully ripening by the end of August or early September for harvest.
Winters are generally crisp, bright and dry, and can dip well below zero, with the occasional fog floating up from the Saone valley.
Spring and autumn seasons have cool evenings but generally pleasantly warm sunny days of up to 25C, with the possibility of a mid season frost in late October or March, and less frequently in April.
The Different Wines
Beaujolais wines from the south are considered to be generally light and fruity with a floral aroma, making it easy to drink as an aperitif or accompanying a summer meal – these are known simply as ‘Beaujolais’. Some producers opt for also producing a Beaujolais Nouveau, which is precocious wine, extra light with a short maturation period, which comes on to the market at midnight on the third Thursday in November, to be drunk during the closing months of the year.
The wines produced just north of the centre are known as ‘Beaujolais Villages’ and come from 39 villages and their surrounding areas. These wines are more complex than a ‘Beaujolais’ and can have a much deeper colour and flavour, most notably those of red and black fruits and berries with more subtle mineral notes, a wine that most typically develops over a three year period. The vineyard at Chez Briar and Michel is situated in the Beaujolais Villages area and neighbours with Brouilly.
The 10 Crus are situated in the most northern part of the Beaujolais - each produced in a village or area which has its own wine characteristics and produces a wine that carries that name - Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Régnié, Morgon, Chiroubles, Chenas, Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent, Juliènas, Saint-Amour. These wines are the most complex of the Beaujolais region and generally contain more tannins which gives them a longer maturation period of around five years in which to develop depth and a broader array of rich flavours and aromas.
The Beaujolais region is also renowned for its natural beauty, the views from Chez Briar and Michel rather resembling those of Tuscany but on a smaller scale. The vineyards are situated among rolling hills and valleys that are dotted with pretty villages, all beautifully manicured. The Beaujolais region is absolutely perfect for those who love to hike or cycle, as there are endless miles of easy to tread paths without boundaries, offering breathtaking views at every turn.