A good Beaujolais possess' enough depth to complement a variety of foods and is particularly well matched to tomato based sauces and salads, next to a BBQ, while a few match well to game meat.
About half of all the Gamay in the world is grown in Beaujolais were it is the only red grape permitted for Beaujolais wines. The vine has had a chequered history but its consistent yields and suitability to the soils of Beaujolais has seen it flourish in the region.
Gamay is naturally high in acid, which helps in accompanying many foods, and is why the soils of Beaujolais are important as it is the sandstone and granite soils here that help soften the wine. The grape also has naturally low tannin meaning most wines show vibrant fruit but are light weight on the palate and are not made to age
The term Beaujolais covers the general appellation area, which in itself is a 34 mile (55 kilometre) stretch of land that is between 7 to 9 miles (11 to 14 km) wide, and any wine made from Gamay can carry the region's name.
Beaujolais Villages relates to 39 villages where the soil is deemed to be of a better quality than the general Beaujolais region and so it is expected that higher quality Beaujolais wines will be made.
There are 10 recognised Cru (regions) in Beaujolais consisting of Juliénas, St-Amour, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. These are on the best soils and are usually a more gamey and full bodied version of Gamay.