Learn by Tasting: Episode 32 – Cru Beaujolais from Côte-de-Brouilly

In the latest episode of “Learn by Tasting,” Wine Folly takes us on a journey to discover the unique characteristics of Cru Beaujolais from Côte-de-Brouilly. Exploring the concept of vineyard distinction and the French term “grand cru,” this blind-tasting adventure showcases how the location of a vineyard can influence the flavors and qualities of a wine. With a focus on Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse’s 2020 vintage “Les Garances,” made with Gamay Noir grapes, viewers are treated to the delightful tastes of ripe blueberry fruit and the intriguing aromas of black plum, lavender cake, and all spice.

Get ready to be transported to the world of wine as Wine Folly delves deep into the nuances of different grape varieties and the impact of terroir. This episode sheds light on the exceptional nature of Cru Beaujolais from Côte-de-Brouilly and offers insights into the winemaking process, from slow and light plunging to the pressing and malolactic fermentation. If you’re a wine enthusiast or looking to expand your knowledge, come along on this tasting journey and unlock the secrets of a truly remarkable wine.

Color and Aromas

Description of the color

The wine we are tasting today is a Cru Beaujolais from Côte-de-Brouilly. It has a pale to medium purple ruby color, which is quite vibrant and rich for a single varietal wine. The color indicates that it is likely made from a grape variety with a good amount of pigmentation.

Aromas detected in the wine

Upon giving the wine a sniff, we can identify several enticing aromas. There are notes of ripe black plum, lavender cake, sage blossom, and a hint of Luxardo cherry. Additionally, there is a subtle scent of allspice and a whiff of potting soil, which adds an earthy element to the wine. These aromas give us a sense of the wine’s complexity and quality.

Varietal Identification

Guessing the grape variety

Based on the color and aromas, we can make an educated guess about the grape variety used to make this wine. The ripe black fruit notes suggest a warm vintage and a prime vineyard location. The floral aromas hint at a specific grape variety. Additionally, the presence of allspice indicates barrel aging.

Comparison with other grape varieties

To confirm our guess, let’s compare the characteristics of different grape varieties. SRA from Cornas and Zinfandel from Sonoma do not align with the lavender and potting soil aromas detected in the wine. However, both Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir offer red and black fruit notes, making them viable options. Furthermore, when grown in vineyards with plenty of sunshine, these varieties develop tannins and acidity, which are present in the wine.

Revealing the grape variety

The big reveal is that the wine we are tasting is made from the Gamay Noir grape variety. Gamay is quite rare outside of France but is very famous within the country. It predominantly grows in the region of Beaujolais, specifically Bo, which is located just south of Burgundy. Within Bo, different quality levels exist, and the wine we have today belongs to the 10 Beaujolais Crus, which include Morgon, Brouilly, and Côte-de-Brouilly. These Crus produce Gamay wines that are bolder, with black fruit notes and a slightly higher tannin profile.

Learn by Tasting: Episode 32 - Cru Beaujolais from Côte-de-Brouilly

Understanding Cru Beaujolais

Explanation of Cru Beaujolais

Cru Beaujolais refers to the top-quality wines produced in specific villages within the Beaujolais region. These wines are highly regarded for their excellent craftsmanship and expression of the unique terroir of each village. The term “Cru” was coined by the French to denote these special spots where exceptional wines are made.

Different quality levels in Beaujolais

In Beaujolais, there are different quality levels that wines can be classified into. The hierarchy starts with Beaujolais Nouveau, which is the youngest and freshest style of Beaujolais. Next is Beaujolais, followed by Beaujolais-Villages, which represents wines from selected villages within the region. Finally, at the top of the quality pyramid, we have the 10 Beaujolais Crus, including Côte-de-Brouilly, that produce the most revered and age-worthy wines.

Introduction to Côte-de-Brouilly as a Cru

Côte-de-Brouilly is one of the prestigious Crus in the Beaujolais region. It is located on the slopes of Mont Brouilly and is known for producing wines with distinct character and finesse. The vineyards here benefit from excellent sun exposure and well-drained granite and schist soils, which contribute to the unique terroir and the resulting wines’ flavor profile.

Characteristics of Côte-de-Brouilly wines

Wines from Côte-de-Brouilly, like the one we are tasting today, are known for their boldness and black fruit notes. They often exhibit more tannin and structure compared to other Beaujolais wines. The terroir of Côte-de-Brouilly imparts specific characteristics to the wines, providing them with a signature style that wine enthusiasts appreciate.

Introduction to Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse

Overview of the winery

Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse is the esteemed winery that has produced the wine we are tasting. The winery is renowned for its commitment to quality and the production of wines that truly showcase the unique characteristics of their terroir. They have a long-standing tradition of winemaking and are highly regarded in the Beaujolais region.

Location and vineyards

The winery is located in Côte-de-Brouilly, in the heart of the Beaujolais region. Their vineyards are situated on the slopes of Mont Brouilly, taking full advantage of the excellent sun exposure and soil composition found in this area. The vineyards are carefully tended to ensure the grapes achieve optimal ripeness and express the unique terroir of Côte-de-Brouilly.

Winemaking techniques

Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse employs traditional winemaking techniques to craft their wines. The grapes are harvested by hand and carefully sorted to ensure only the best fruit is used. The winery practices a slow and light plunging method during fermentation, allowing for maximum extraction of flavors and delicate tannins. Additionally, aging takes place in French oak barrels, adding further complexity and character to the wines.

Aging process of the wine

After the fermentation process, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation, which contributes to its smoothness and complexity. Following this, the wine is aged for approximately 12 months in French oak barrels. This aging process allows the wine to develop further, integrating flavors and enhancing its structure. The result is a wine of exceptional quality and finesse.

Learn by Tasting: Episode 32 - Cru Beaujolais from Côte-de-Brouilly

Interview with FR pegas from Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse

Introduction to FR pegas

FR pegas is a representative from Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse, and we have the privilege of interviewing him to gain further insights into the wine we are tasting. He is an expert in his field and has a deep understanding of the vineyards and winemaking process.

Description of the vineyard in Côte-de-Brouilly

During the interview, FR pegas provides us with a glimpse into the vineyard in Côte-de-Brouilly. He explains that the vineyard features very old goblet-trained vines, which are a traditional method of training grapevines. The age of the vines contributes to the wine’s complexity and character.

Details about the winemaking process

FR pegas shares some details about the winemaking process employed at Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse. He mentions that the grapes undergo a meticulous selection process, with approximately 80% of the grape clusters destemmed to focus on the berries. The slow and light plunging of the grape must during fermentation ensures gentle extraction of flavors. Furthermore, a specific type of French oak barrel is utilized for aging, which imparts unique nuances to the wine.

Unique aspects of the wine

In our interview, FR pegas highlights some unique aspects of the wine we are tasting. He emphasizes that the wine reflects a Burgundy red wine style, despite being from the Beaujolais region. This distinction sets it apart and adds to its allure. The combination of the specific terroir of Côte-de-Brouilly and the winemaking techniques employed by Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse result in a wine that is truly exceptional and representative of its origins.

Membership in Wine Folly Club

Benefits of joining Wine Folly Club

Joining the Wine Folly Club offers numerous benefits to wine enthusiasts. Members gain access to exclusive wines from renowned wineries, like Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse. It provides an opportunity to explore and taste unique wines that may not be readily available elsewhere. Additionally, members receive educational content and resources to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of wine.

Opportunity to taste the featured wines

One of the significant advantages of being a member of Wine Folly Club is the opportunity to taste the featured wines, such as the 2020 vintage “Les Garances” from Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse. Tasting the wines allows members to experience the flavors, aromas, and characteristics firsthand, further enhancing their wine appreciation journey.

Subscription information

For those interested in becoming a member of Wine Folly Club, subscription information can be found on their website. There are different membership options available, allowing individuals to choose the level of involvement that suits them best. Subscribers can look forward to regular deliveries of carefully curated wines, along with accompanying educational materials to enhance their wine tasting experience.


In conclusion, the wine we have tasted, the 2020 vintage “Les Garances” from Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse, is a remarkable example of Cru Beaujolais from Côte-de-Brouilly. Its vibrant color, complex aromas, and bold flavors showcase the unique characteristics of the Gamay Noir grape and the terroir it grows in. The winemaking techniques employed by Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse further enhance the wine’s quality and finesse. Joining Wine Folly Club provides wine enthusiasts with an opportunity to access exceptional wines, learn more about the world of wine, and deepen their appreciation for the craft. So, if you’re eager to embark on a wine tasting journey like no other, consider becoming a member and enjoy the multitude of experiences this esteemed club has to offer. Cheers!