Perfect for your friend who loves Beaujolais but wants to try something different.
Côteaux du Lyonnais is a relatively small appellation created in 1984 for red, white, and rosé wines from the hillsides west of Lyon. Though the town lies on the Rhône River, both Lyon and the vines lay beyond the northern boundaries of the official Rhône wine territory.
The region borders the southernmost Beaujolais vineyards to the north. But administratively the AOP lies outside any broader region.
These wines are of a lighter style than those produced in the Rhône region, and are closer in style to those produced in Beaujolais. The red wines, in fact, are produced from the Gamay grape variety using carbonic maceration. This is the same combination which creates the distinctive wines of Beaujolais.
A small amount of white wine is made under the appellation, from Chardonnay and Aligoté. Occasionally some Pinot Blanc is added to the blend. These are traditionally dry, floral styles, some of which are matured in oak barrels for up to a year to produce a slightly more structured, weighty version.
Despite its small geographical area, the region is split into three areas; the Mont d'Or to the north, the Arbresle valley in the center, and a southern area around the hills just outside Vienne. The Beaujolais region begins on the northern outskirts of the commune of L'Arbresle.
The co-operative Saint-Bel is responsible for the production of about half of all Coteaux du Lyonnais wines, the majority of which are consumed within France and are rarely exported.
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