Beaujolais lies roughly in the southeast quarter of France, between Burgundy to the north and the Rhone to the south. It is very close to the city of Lyon, which during the late middle ages was home to many silk merchants. For a while Beaujolais itself was also a famous textile center. Its name comes from the house of Beaujeu, a noble family of the region first mentioned in the 900s.
Prior to becoming a textile center however, the Beaujolais region was a wine-producing area. Vineyards have been found that date to Roman times. From that point through most of the middle ages, gamay and pinot noir were planted throughout the Beaujolais and Burgundy areas. Gamay produced larger grapes and some people felt that it also produced a less concentrated wine. Therefore, in 1395 Phillip the Bold of Burgundy decreed that only pinot noir was to be planted in Burgundy and the gamay vines were to be pulled out. Because the Beaujolais region was not under his authority, the gamay was left alone there Read more »
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