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Morgon

Morgon is one of the ten Beaujolais crus located on the slopes of the Beaujolais hills on the western side of the Saône River. The wines made here from the Gamay grape variety tend to be denser than those made in much of the rest of Beaujolais, often with cherry and dark fruit characters and a fleshy, juicy texture that is not common in Beaujolais wines. Morgon wines age so distinctively and consistently that the region's name is often used as a verb to describe this process: "il morgonne".

The vineyard zone of Morgon occupies about 4.5 square miles (12.5 sq km) surrounding the commune of Villie-Morgon. The vineyards of Fleurie and Chiroubles lie directly to the north of Morgon, and Brouilly and Régnié make up the southern border. Six separate climats can be found on the south and southwest-facing slopes around the village, the most famous of which is the Côte du Py, just to the south. The Morgon wines produced here are said to be the best wines from the appellation.

The most distinctive feature of Morgon's terroir is the weathered, decomposing soil made up of granite and schist, with some volcanic influences. These soils, ranging in texture from sandy loams to heavier clays, are rich in iron and contribute an earthy depth to the wines that is not characteristically found in any of the other Beaujolais crus.

As in much of the Beaujolais region, the vineyards are protected from cold north-westerly winds by the hills immediately west of Beaujolais. Instead, a warm, dry foehn wind develops on the eastern slopes of these hills, drying the vineyards after rain and helping to prevent fungal vine diseases such as mildew. The wide, shallow valley of the Saône River offers no topographical barriers to sunlight, and as such the vines benefit from plentiful sunshine during the growing season, helping the development of phenols and sugars in the grapes. This is moderated by some cooling influences from the Mediterranean Sea, some way to the south, allowing for the retention of acidity in the wines.

While the Gamay grape variety is undoubtedly the star of Morgon wines, some white grape varieties are permitted in the final blend, namely Chardonnay, Aligoté and Melon de Bourgogne. Although there are no officially defined quantities for these varieties, the Morgon blend is controlled by limiting the proportion of these vines that are permitted in the vineyard to no more than 15%.
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