It used to be that the Gamay-based wines of Beaujolais were the inexpensive alternatives to the Pinot Noirs of its more prestigious neighbor to the north, Burgundy. Not quite so much any more. While the top wines of Beaujolais are still far less expensive than those of Burgundy, prices of Beaujolais, especially those from the more celebrated Beaujolais crus as they are known, have shot up in the last few years as interest in the wines has grown. Now, mid-double-digit prices are not uncommon.

With that in mind, I set out to find some of the best Beaujolais for around $25 or under, and I was pleased to discover that there are still plenty of good values out there, whether from the broader Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages appellations or the cru wines from the 10 villages or areas from which those wines take their names.

The Beaujolais-Villages and crus are in the north, where the region is rich with granite- and schist-based soils that often produce distinct minerality, while the vast majority of the wines simply labeled Beaujolais come from the south, where clay soils yield softer, more fruity wines meant to be drunk young.

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Although there are notable exceptions, many wines from Beaujolais are still made using carbonic maceration, a method common in the region in which whole clusters (rather than destemmed grapes) are fermented in sealed tanks with carbon dioxide. In this oxygen-free environment, the grapes start fermenting from the inside out, which softens the tannins and enhances the fruity character of the wines.

With all of that in mind, there’s a good deal of stylistic variation in Beaujolais, from light and simple quaffers to deeper, more complex wines capable of considerable aging. Beaujolais, of course, lends itself to a slight chill and is a classic wine companion for white meats.

Here are six affordable Beaujolais wines worth trying.

Domaine K. Descombes Beaujolais ‘Cuvée Kéké’ 2021

Domaine K. Descombes Beaujolais 'Cuvée Kéké' 2021 is one of the best Beaujolais wines under $30.

Kéké is the nickname of Kewin Descombes, who farms about 15 acres organically in the Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, and Morgon appellations. All of the work on the farm is done manually, and in this Beaujolais, you can smell the region’s hallmark rocky minerality. It’s all about that earthiness combined with red fruit flavors, especially raspberry. A fascinating and delicious terroir-driven wine.

Price: $22
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Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais-Villages ‘Vieilles Vignes’ 2021

Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais-Villages 'Vieilles Vignes' 2021 is one of the best Beaujolais wines under $30.

Made from old-vine Gamay (50 to 80 years old) grown organically, this stellar wine is bursting with ripe red fruit notes, mainly strawberry and cherry, with great concentration and lively acidity. It takes a little while for it to open up and you’ll notice a bit of spritz at first, but once things settle down with a few swirls in the glass, you’ll have in your hand a lovely, classic Beaujolais that is simply irresistible.

Price: $24
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Domaine du Clos du Fief Saint-Amour ‘Les Capitans’ 2021

Domaine du Clos du Fief Saint-Amour 'Les Capitans' 2021 is one of the best Beaujolais wines under $30.

I love this wine from the Saint-Amour appellation, the northernmost cru in Beaujolais. It’s supple and beautifully balanced with notes of sweet blackberry, crushed dried cherries, and a hint of orange. Background minerality and refreshing acidity complete the picture. Les Capitans refers to a single vineyard in Saint-Amour.

Price: $27
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Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais ‘Griottes’ 2021

Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais 'Griottes' 2021 is one of the best Beaujolais wines under $30.

Relatively soft with dark fruit notes on first tasting, including black plum and blueberry. But as it opens up red fruits emerge, especially raspberry and cherry, along with red licorice and an orange hint. Framed by fine tannins, there’s a dusty, powdered cocoa element that I always find intriguing in this wine, which is a classic Beaujolais and one of the region’s best values.

Price: $15
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Château de Fleurie Fleurie 2020

Château de Fleurie Fleurie 2020 is one of the best Beaujolais wines under $30.

From the Fleurie appellation, this wine is dense and concentrated with dark fruit and balsamic notes framed by lively acidity. It tastes like a warmer-climate wine, showing a “darker” yet intriguing side of Beaujolais that contrasts with lighter, red-fruit-dominated wines. Its grippy tannins and concentration almost call out for meat, perhaps a skirt steak seared on the grill.

Price: $20
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Domaine Ruet Morgon ‘Douby’ 2020

Domaine Ruet Morgon 'Douby' 2020 is one of the best Beaujolais wines under $30.

Dark fruit aromas and flavors are supported by firm, ripe tannins in this well-structured wine that finishes with hints of powdered cocoa and milk chocolate. There’s also pronounced minerality, reminding me of freshly poured cement (in a good way). Many consider Morgon the most “serious” of the Beaujolais crus, and this one shows why.

Price: $27
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Next up: Langhe Nebbiolos from Italy’s Piedmont