Monday, May 11, 2009

Gamay--Not Just from the Beaujolais

Gamay is a grape that is most often associated with France's Beaujolais region. Whether made into the mass-exported, fresh-and-fruity Nouveau Beajolais or the far more dignified Cru Beaujolais, Gamay is a nice change of pace from heavy, spicy reds. With their lower alcohol and a ability to take on a slight chill without losing any flavor, they're perfect for summer, too.

But not all Gamay comes from the Beaujolais. I've had two bottles of Gamay recently that don't come from this famed region. One comes from France's Auvergne, and the other from the Unites States' Sierra Foothills. Both are worth a closer look if you are interested in experimenting with Gamay not from the Beaujolais.

First up is the NV Jean Maupertuis La Guillaume from the Côtes d'Auvergne VDQS. ($19.99, K&L Wines) I really loved this pale cherry-colored wine, almost the color of a very dark Spanish rose. It was slightly cloudy, and boy did it have an aroma of barnyard when it was first opened. The overpowering aroma dissipated quickly, but it left behind a topsoil smell that remained to accompany the raspberry notes. Sour cherry and pomegranate seed flavors were accompanied with earthiness, too. This wine was best with food, and was very good chilled slightly with some grilled chicken. Unusual, earthy, and good QPR.

If you want to try a Gamay from closer to home, get yourself a bottle of the NV Avanguardia Amatore from the Sierra Foothills. ($18, direct from the winery) This terrific domestic red was a dead ringer for a Beaujolais red. Made from a blend of red grapes including Gamay, Corvina, and Rondinella this wine had classic cherry and earth aromas and flavors. The wine was very juicy, with touches of chalky dryness. It was great to taste something out of California that has such restraint, and I enjoyed every drop of this very good QPR wine. It was excellent with grilled chicken, and would be equally good with grilled sausages or vegetables.

Full Disclosure: I received the Avanguardia Amatore as a sample.


Amy Atwood said...

Gamay is one of my favorite house standards. Enjoyable throughout the year and matches with endless food pairings.
Thanks for another Gamay to try.

Ciga said...

Really grape’s wine always attracts the wine lovers. I am also a fan of wine. But I mostly prefer cigars with wine because it enhances the taste of wine. Wine and cigars both should be of good quality and taste. is the website which deals with the international brands of cigars. It is very simple to get online cigars. Just click here:

Dr. Debs said...

You're welcome, Amy! It's one of my go-to wines, as well--as easy to pair with food as Pinot Noir and a fraction of the price.