Beaujolais

Beaujolais wines

Beaujolais Wine

Your devoted scribe has a terrible nostalgia for a French food culture that may never have existed in quite the way he chooses to recall it. Of simple unpretentious, village restaurants serving honest, earthy, remarkably-inexpensive dishes to contented diners in shirt sleeves who would knock back impressive quantities of wine in the middle of the working day. It is undeniable that this Arcadian scenario is becoming increasingly rare, but occasionally one stumbles across a hostelry where the echoes of it still resonate.

On an Autumnal trip to Beaujolais, with appetites sharpened by a morning’s wine tasting and with rain pelting down like stair rods, we chanced providentially upon the Relais Bacchus in the hamlet of Lancié, 6 kilometres east of Arnaud Aucoeur’s HQ in Villié-Morgon. It was packed out on a Tuesday lunchtime, but the accommodating patronne managed to find us a table. The menu du jour of pâté and pickles followed by braised pork and lentils was unbelievably-cheap and highly-restorative. The house red wouldn’t have excited the establishments’ namesake but it was potable and plentiful and we emerged, after coffee, much happier than when we’d arrived.

The aforementioned Monsieur Aucoeur, whose wares had wetted our appetites, is an 11th generation vigneron independent who tends 20 hectares of vines spread across the principal crus of Beaujolais, although half of his vine-holdings lie in the traditional family stronghold of Morgon.