The New Bargains in Beaujolais - Cara featured in Seven-Fifty Daily
The New Bargains in Beaujolais
Beaujolais—especially cru Beaujolais—has become more expensive over the last decade. But buyers insist that there are still plenty of values to be found.
written by Courtney Schiessl Magrini, published
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A More Expensive Beaujolais Landscape
Economic factors—such as inflation and cost increases along the supply chain—are also driving wine prices up across regions, Beaujolais included. Vintage-over-vintage price increases—which Cara Patricia, the cofounder and sommelier of DecantSF in San Francisco, refers to as “wineflation”—are common practice right now. Patricia notes that she has experienced year-over-year price increased between 13 to 30 percent from Burgundy, Champagne, and even California. Beaujolais price increases, she says, actually have not been that high, comparatively.
Even the lingering effects of U.S. tariffs on European wine—which levied 25 percent tariffs on French, German, and Spanish wines under 14 percent alcohol from October 2019 to March 2021—persist. “While many of those tariffs have been relaxed or sunsetted, the wine producers realized that their wine is still going to sell when priced higher,” says Patricia. “The importers haven’t reduced their prices since then.”
Retaining Value Despite Higher Prices
Even at a higher price point—Wieland feels the sweet spot for cru Beaujolais now runs $30 to $40—professionals agree that there is still serious value to be found in Beaujolais.
“I only have five [cru Beaujolais] that are over $40 on the shelf,” says Patricia, “and $40 for a really good cru Beaujolais—it’s very hard to find top-quality wine from most of France in that price range.”
Where Are the Beaujolais Bargains?
If the Thévenet and Lapierre crus of the world—and even ones from the cool kids of the ’10s, like Yann Bertrand—now regularly retail for $40 and up, where are bargains to be found? Luckily, one positive effect of Beaujolais’ rising popularity is an influx of new producers to the U.S. market.
“There’s more of a selection of small producers now than there’s ever been,” says Patricia. “There’s so many growers in Beaujolais with tiny plots … now the new-wave winemaking generation is going in and purchasing them.”
“I find more deals with wines that are made by Burgundy producers,” says Patricia. “Their Burgundies are more expensive, so they can offer their Beaujolais estates [with more value].” She highlights Armand Heitz, who took over his family’s domaine in Burgundy in 2011 and began working in Beaujolais in 2018. DecantSF sells his 2020 Juliénas for $29.
Ready to taste for yourself? Check out our collection of Beaujolais here!
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