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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

The Beaujolais region is taking another step away from its Nouveau past with the release of two modern' Beaujolais onto the UK market. Beaujolais producer Pellerin, in association with D&D Wines, has released a new range, featuring specially commissioned works of art, while PLB Wines has released Paradoxe, its attempt to update the image of the region and build on the 14% increase in Beaujolais sales recorded by AC Nielsen in 2002. The idea was to bring something up-to-date and stylish to the region,' said Pellerin's marketing director, Christophe Coquard. We asked a local artist to produce some art works for the different areas in the region, which were put on the label with a photograph of the area. The result is something that is strongly marketed, but retains its terroir character,' said Coquard. The wines, released at last week's France Under One Roof tasting, go from a Vin de Pays Gamay and Chardonnay to Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages and up to the Crus, such as Fleurie. They are priced from 3.99 to 8.99. Alex Canneti, business development manager for PLB Wines, said: Paradoxe is our attempt to build a Beaujolais brand in the UK. Instead of it being just another Beaujolais with no promotional budget, we have given it a French, but UK-friendly name, blended it for the UK palate and priced it at a level [4.99] where it can be promoted.' Andrew Bewes, sales and marketing director for Berkmann Wine Cellars, the UK agent for category leader Georges Duboeuf, said sales of Beaujolais are going well, but he is annoyed' about the UK press coverage of the region. The Beaujolais have been getting rid of a lot of cheap, nasty wine that's on the market. It was hailed as a failure, as throwing good wine away, but it's the reverse; it's about getting rid of the cheap stuff and making sure that what is going to market is good quality.'