The most essential etiquette considerations on how to serve and drink Beaujolais. Rules to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

beaujolais wine

What Beaujolais etiquette is

Beaujolais etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Beaujolais. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Beaujolais etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Beaujolais etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Beaujolais

Beaujolais is a red wine. It is produced in the Beaujolais area in France, north of Lyon. Beaujolais is an AOC (French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée).

Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape. It is light-bodied and highly acidic. 

how to drink and serve Beaujolais wine

Etiquette tips to serve and drink Beaujolais

1) How to store Beaujolais

Store Beaujolais in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant. 

Place the bottles in a horizontal position to keep the cork moist. Dry corks might let the oxygen in and spoil the wine. The bottles should not be exposed to direct light, natural or artificial. Keep them away from sources of heat.

Do not store Beaujolais in the fridge or in the freezer.

After opening it, drink Beaujolais within three or four days. Do not keep it longer. 

2) How to prepare Beaujolais

Most of the Beaujolais wines in commerce are young, light-bodied wines. Thus, Beaujolais wines usually do not need decanting. 

However, the most aged crus might benefit from it. The contact with the oxygen makes the texture and flavors of the wine more gentle to the palate.

Before serving, pour the full bottle of wine into a decanter. Then, let the wine breathe. The amount of time needed for decanting depends on the wine and on personal tastes. Usually, it is appropriate to keep Beaujolais in a decanter for 20 or 30 minutes.

If you prefer Beaujolaus chilled, refrigerate it for about one hour before serving.

Avoid chilling glasses in the fridge. The condensation waters down the wine and dilutes its taste.

3) How to serve & present Beaujolais

Serve Beaujolais slightly chilled. The ideal temperature depends on the cru. In general, you should serve Beaujolais at about 15°C (60°F). Serve the lightest Beaujolais wines, such as the Nouveau, at 11°C (52°F). 

Place the bottle in the fridge between 30 minutes and one hour before serving. Do not over-chill Beaujolais, as the cold temperature prevents the wine from releasing its full aroma.

Present Beaujolais in its bottle. If you poured it in a decanter, pour it back into the bottle using a small kitchen funnel. You can place it in a bucket with water and ice to keep it chilled. 

Hold the bottle by its body, never by its neck or cork. Serve Beaujolais in red wine glasses. Since Beaujolais is very light-bodied, white wine glasses work too. Fill the glass between ⅓ and ½.

4) When to serve & drink Beaujolais

Beaujolais is usually light in alcohol. Thus, it is ideal for a light lunch, brunch, picnic, or barbecue. It is also perfect for an aperitivo or for pre-meal drinks.

You can serve it during a meal to accompany a light meat course or a salad. It can combine well with a cheese platter.

Beaujolais can be served on formal occasions, such as a formal dinner party. However, it may be most appropriate for informal occasions.

5) Food & aromas to pair Beaujolais with

The ideal pairings depend on the Cru and aging time. In general, Beaujolais pairs well with delicate flavors. 

Pair it with meat, such as chicken or poultry. Heavier Crus can go well with red meat and stews. Light Beaujolais can pair well with some fish, such as cod, tuna, or salmon.

Beaujolais is great to accompany a cheese or charcuterie board. Charcuterie such as ham, patés, terrines. Cheese like Brie, Camembert, Asiago, or Gouda.

6) How to drink Beaujolais

Drink Beaujolais in red wine chalices. Alternatively, white wine glasses with a larger bowl work too. Hold the glass by its stem to avoid warming the wine with your hand.

Drink it in small sips. A glass of Beaujolais should last between 10 and 30 minutes.

Never drink shots of Beaujolais.

Do not add ice to Beaujolais. First, ice waters down the wine and its bouquet. Furthermore, ice is usually added only to low-quality or cheap beverages.

Beaujolais etiquette worst mistakes

Beaujolais etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst Beaujolais etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk.
  • 7/10. Drinking shots of Beaujolais.
  • 5/10. Pairing Beaujolais with strong flavors.
  • 3/10. Not holding the glass by the stem. 

Additional information for properly serving Beaujolais

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Beaujolais contains about 75 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). An individual serving is a red wine glass of 150 ml (5 oz). It contains 115 calories.

How to buy the best Beaujolais

A crucial factor in Beaujolais etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

Beaujolais wines must have an AOC mark on their label. AOC is the French certification that guarantees the quality and the production methods.

The quality often depends on the Crus. Wine experts recommend some Crus for the supposed qualities of their terrain. However, quality can vary within the same Cru. 

Alternatives to Beaujolais

As a substitute to Beaujolais, consider Bordeaux Rouge or light-bodied Chianti