Beaujolais has seen its fair share of ups and downs in recent years yet remains on of the most productive wine regions in France. Home to the Gamay grape, and with it a method of fermentation, that entails whole bunch fermentation, called carbonic maceration. When good these can be some of the most refreshing red wines in the world, often served chilled, and the source of immense pleasure. The wines are typically light and intensely fruity with wonderful acidity and a sense of joyful exuberance not found in other barrel fermented, richer wines.
Beaujolais Villages is an appellation that requires gamay grapes grown in Beaujolais to come from the better situated vineyards in the foothills of the Massif Central, and as such the designation on the label generally tends to indicate higher quality than a straight Beaujolais.
Brouilly is one of the Beaujolais 'Crus' which are those appelations designated as having not only their own character but also as signposts for quality. Brouilly is in fact the biggest of all the crus and produces the most textured and robust wines. All the Brouilly vineyards are situated around Mont. Brouilly, from which the appelation takes its name. The more superior Cote de Brouilly is reserved for those vineyards grown higher up the hillside.
A separate appellation to Brouilly that comprises a mere 300ha of land higher up the hillside from Brouilly itself. The wines from the Cotes de Brouilly, owing to their hillside location, tend to be more powerful than those produced in Brouilly's lower vineyards.
Fleurie produces Beaujolais, of all the ten Crus, that is perhaps the most perfumed and floral.
Morgon's wines are generally seen as the densest and most powerful of all the ten Crus in Beaujolais.
Even after discounting the big names - Bordeaux, Burgundy etc - France is still full of excellent quality winemakers who are doing great things now and are simultaneously showing bags of potential. Areas like Côtes de Roussillon and the Languedoc have been producing highly-drinkable, thoroughly enjoyable wines for a very long time.