The Top 10 Beaujolais Producers

The Top 10 Beaujolais Producers

Nov 15, 2022Kate Angus

Our Team’s Favorite Beaujolais Producers Right Now

If you're here, you've likely been hooked by the Beaujolais bug already. With so many bottles lining our shelves, it can be hard to figure out where to turn. Who's making the juiciest Beaujolais Villages? The most structured, powerful Morgon? The most ethereal Moulin a Vent? If we're being honest, it's hard to elevate one producer above all others. But right now, these are the 10 producers who we can't get enough of.

All of them make minimal intervention Beaujolais and farm biodynamically, organically, or using other sustainable methods. They're not making the most Beaujolais, but they're making small amounts of really good wine. 

Ready to cut to the chase? Shop our collection of Beaujolais right here. The winemakers in this Dispatch might be some of our favorites, but we love every single Beaujolais we sell.

The Gang of Four

Let's start with the revolutionaries. Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton, Jean Foillard, and Jean-Paul Thevenét played a big part in turning Beaujolais into the hotbed of minimal intervention winemakers it is today. Inspired by the teachings of chemist and winemaker Jules Chauvet, they eliminated the use of chemicals and pesticides in the vineyard and started using less sulfur at bottling.

The results spoke for themselves. Their classic, delicious cru Beaujolais was put on the map when Kermit Lynch included all four producers in his portfolio and dubbed them “The Gang of Four.”

Guy Breton

Guy Breton's wines are about as classic as it gets. He's known as ‘P’tit Max’ among friends and family, despite his grand stature. Try his Morgon for a benchmark expression of both producer style and terroir, and his cuvée “Marylou” for something light, modern, and downright quaffable.

Marcel Lapierre

Of the four, Lapierre’s wines have the most immediate aura of celebration — they’re downright fun. Marcel Lapierre’s children, Camille and Mathieu, have helmed the family business since Marcel’s passing in 2010.  Their Morgon ‘S,’ a zero-sulfur-added cuvée, is their calling card bottle. It’s light and rich, with aromas typical of the Morgon region: cherry, violet, raspberry, and licorice.

Jean Foillard

Jean Foillard is blessed: the majority of his vineyards are on the famed Côte du Py slope in the Morgon cru. The hillside is home to some of the oldest soils in the region, boasting ancient blue granite and schist. Jean’s wines are a case study in precision and weightlessness. There’s no need to meditate over each sip, or to age his bottles for decades: these wines are meant to effortlessly deliver and to do it immediately.

“There is no bullshit in between Foillard’s wines and their enjoyment. They are super delicious, texturally marvelous, aromatically gorgeous — and they are all these things right away with a powerful immediacy.”
— Jazon Zuliani, Founder and CEO of Dedalus Wines

Jean Foillard

Jean-Paul Thevenét

Jean-Paul Thevenet is the third generation to produce wine at his family estate, and now he’s joined by his son Charly. Jean-Paul’s wines are known for their serious structure and herbaceousness. They’re grounded, delivering juicy drinkability and a woodsy, rustic complexity. While the others are big on the Paris wine scene, Jean-Paul is the most low-profile. He prefers to keep it simple and focuses on making a small amount of minimal intervention wine each year.

More Winemakers to Know

Yann Bertrand

Though he grew up in the Beaujolais, Yann Bertand never intended to make wine. But in university, he fell in with a group of wine geeks, and the rest is history. Yann brings a youthful playfulness to his wines. His ‘100% Julienas,’ for example, is not 100% Gamay: instead, it is fermented with 10% Chardonnay from the same parcel. The result is a juicy, light, interesting bottle that could only come from someone with a fresh perspective.

Jean Louis Dutraive

Jean-Louis Dutraive had big shoes to fill when he bought the oldest domaine in Fleurie—Domaine de la Grand Coeur—in 1969. The domaine has been certified organic since 2009, but Jean-Louis has been practicing and influencing his neighbors for decades prior.

His larger-than-life personality is masterfully translated into every wine he makes. He’s known to bring an endless supply of saucisson everywhere he goes, making every gathering into a celebration. Drink his wines accordingly, and bring a bottle of his Fleurie to your next party.

Chapel

David Chapel was working at Domaine Lapierre when he met Michele Smith-Chapel a wine director from New York. Long story short, they fell in love and made the move to Beaujolais to start making their own wine. They set up shop in the cru village of Regníe, but they also produce cuvées from vines in Julienas, Fleurie, and Chiroubles.

Alex Foillard

Alex Foillard is the son of Gang of Four winemaker Jean Foillard. After finishing his studies in Nuits-Saint Georges in Burgundy, he returned to his hometown in the Beaujolais. While his father focuses mainly on Morgon, Alex diversified his vineyards by purchasing vines in Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. His wines are every bit as delicious, complex, and natural as his father’s. Silky, aromatic, and broad, we especially love his Brouilly. Alex’s Burgundian influence is present in this bottle, exhibiting a bit more muscle than one might expect from Gamay, but that’s why we love it. A formidable match for your next steak night.


Bonnet-Cotton

Husband-wife duo Pierre and Marie Bonnet-Cotton released their first cuvée, ‘100% Cotton,’ in 2014. Since then, they’ve sourced fruit from vineyards all over the Beaujolais, including Regnie, Julienas, and Brouilly. We especially love their Brouilly ‘Les Grilles’ for a perfect companion to a meal off the grill (almost as much as we love how Pierre’s previous stint as a motorcycle mechanic inspires his label designs)!

Looking for something to impress your wine geek friends? Bring a bottle of Pierre and Marie’s Beaujolais Blanc, made of 100% Chardonnay, grown on an unusual stripe of limestone on their domaine.

Elisa Guerin

This fearless young winemaker is making waves with her luscious, party-ready Beaujolais Villages and more sophisticated, ageable cuvées. Bold, spirited, and unwavering in her commitment to the principles that elevated Beaujolais to prominence, Elisa embraces minimal intervention in both the vineyard and cellar. She’s slowly converting her family estate to organics and has even more sustainability projects in mind. She’s also begun fermenting with native yeasts in the cellars, tying herself firmly to the traditions established by the Gang of Four.

More, on the Dispatch

  1. Hooked on Beaujolais? Check out our interview with Mathieu Lapierre here, and read about those at the forefront of winemaking, pushing boundaries in the next generation of Beaujolais.
  2. Did you know that Beaujolais is actually a part of Burgundy? Learn more about the iconic wine region in our 101 article here.

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