A Guide to Gamay
You’ll likely be most familiar with Gamay via the red wines of Beaujolais. But you’ll also find it in parts of the Loire Valley.
Pinot Noir lovers will appreciate Gamay – in fact, the two are related. Gamay is one of the many offspring of Pinot. Flavour-wise, it is full of pretty red fruits like cherry, raspberry, and currant, as well as red and purple flowers, a hint of earth and spice. It’s a delicious wine that is incredibly versatile when it comes to pairing with food. With its appealing fruitiness, low tannins, and refreshing acidity, it’s a good pairing candidate for dishes with a bit of spicy heat, fish (especially fatty fishes like salmon), and barbecue. It’s also lovely with a roasted chicken and turkey as well.
If you like wines full of vibrant fruit, check out Beaujolais Nouveau. These are young wines meant to be consumed in their youth which are very popular in the cafes of France. Released on the third Thursday of November, many look forward to the nouveau vintage. Compared with the more refined Beaujolais (particularly the Beaujolais crus), nouveau is more candied, reminiscent of pear drops, raspberry, and banana. These aromas and flavours are due to carbonic maceration, a process which yields wines with low tannins, high acid, and plenty of fruit flavour. These wines are perfect for serving slightly chilled.
Do you prefer ageing your wines? Then the Beaujolais crus are for you. These ten villages produce Gamay-based wines that are capable of ageing up to several years. Some have more tannins, like those from Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon, and tend to be more powerful than some of the other crus.
Gamay is also grown throughout the New World. The USA, Canada, and New Zealand are all countries where winemakers are experimenting with Gamay to positive results. But France is its home and Beaujolais is its heart. If you’ve never tried Gamay before, Beaujolais is the place to start.
Here are a few of our favourites:
Domaine des Terres Dorees
Domaine Jean Foillard, Morgon
Jean-Paul Thevenet, Morgon
Jean-Louis Dutraive, Fleurie