Beaujolais is located on the eastern side of France, touching Burgundy to the north, and the city of Lyon to the south. This region is perhaps most famous (or infamous) for Beaujolais Nouveau; simple, light and fruity Gamay wines which are released in mid November, mere weeks after harvest. These divisive wines aside, there is a lot of quality and variety to be found, particularly among the ten hilly sub-regions known as Crus.
The story of how Gamay came to be the principle grape of Beaujolais begins in mid-14th century Burgundy, shortly after the decline of the Black Plague. Due to the economic upheaval across Europe, many Burgundian growers turned away from finicky Pinot Noir towards a more consistent varietal. This move might have saved Burgundy as a wine region, but some decades later the Dukes of Burgundy outlawed the cultivation of Gamay, forcing growers to relocate south into what is now the Beaujolais region.
Despite the resurgence of Beaujolais as a 'serious' wine region, many excellent wines from this region are still fantastic value for money and easily paired with food or drunk on their own!