10 Terrific 2022 Beaujolais to Drink Now, or in a Few Years

How do you assess the value of Beaujolais?

I know people with merciless memories who recall when nobody would think to spend more than $10 for a bottle. They are appalled to see bottles of good Morgon retailing today for $50, $60 or even more.

The price of Morgon — of all wines, really, and just about everything else — seems unthinkable compared with the going rates decades ago. But it’s not just inflation. Equally important is the vast distance Beaujolais has traveled since its days as a cherished but inconsequential thirst-quencher.

Cru Beaujolais — the wines from 10 areas considered distinctive enough to bear more specific appellations, like Morgon, Fleurie or Moulin-à-Vent — long ago transcended any notion of triviality. These wines can be great as well as joyous, which is the enduring beauty of Beaujolais.

It’s not just the crus. Both Beaujolais, the lowest appellation in the Beaujolais hierarchy, and Beaujolais-Villages, the midrange, are also far removed from the light, simple wines of old.

Those who loved the old styles understandably mourn their disappearance, as some might a mythical past in history when the world was as we preferred it. They can take heart. Plenty of other cheap, cheerful wines can stand in for these memories, even if few today will achieve the “light and tart” flavor Kermit Lynch recalled in his 1988 book “Adventures on the Wine Route.”

But why single out Beaujolais? Is any wine today what it was 20, 30 or 50 years ago? Of course not. Almost all these wines of old have changed greatly over the years. They don’t taste as they once did. Farming has evolved, as has winemaking. The climate has changed. Wines today reflect the world today with, in the best examples, a clear through line to what used to be.

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