Located South of Burgundy, between Mâcon and Lyon, Beaujolais produces an average of 13 million cases annually. While it is geographically diverse, 98% of the area has been given over to the Gamay Noir grape. The other 2% is planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Beaujolais is comprised of 12 appellations, and is divided into Haut- and Bas-Beaujolais. The valley of the River Nizerand, just north of the regional capital Villefranche, is the dividing point. South of the river is the flat plains of Bas-Beaujolais. The soil here is rich and mostly limestone/clay with occasional sandy patches. Beaujolais is a young, refreshing, and juicy wine full of intense fruit aromas. In Beaujolais a variation of the maceration carbonique method or more simply, what has become to be known as the Beaujolais Method, is used. The strength of this method is that it extracts the maximum colour and aroma from the grape without the astringency associated with red wine.