As we move into the warmer months, notice I’m refraining from calling it summer, in addition to the obvious white and rose wines, this is the time of year when you can really get the most out of lighter red wines and leading the charge for me is Gamay.
Here are a few tidbits about Gamay…
Full name is Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc. Its birthplace and home is Beaujolais, France. It ripens up to two weeks before Pinot Noir and is finally shaking off the lasting ill effects of the Beaujolais Nouveau boom!
I feel there is a definite movement happening in the UK where people are moving away from the blockbusting, monstrously big reds and looking to lighter styles. This is where Gamay comes into its own and could gain a pretty hefty chunk of people’s baskets. Most people when they think about lighter styles automatically turn to Pinot Noir but, at the value end of the market, they are all too often thin and lacking any real fruit concentration. I advise people to hunt out a Gamay and you’ll find great value available from between £8 and £12.
Classic aromas include raspberries, strawberries, black and red cherries and often tropical hints including Banana. The palate is light and often delivers juicy, ripe fruit concentration. The naturally low tannins and low alcohol (12%) make it a great summer red that can also be enjoyed slightly chilled.
Gamay is not only available from Beaujolais. However, Beaujolais is the most accessible. You will also find examples from the Loire Valley, some from Italy and increasingly from Canada and New Zealand.
So to summarise – why not give Gamay a try if you haven’t or reacquaint yourself with its light fragrant, red fruit driven style if it’s been a while. You’ll find plenty to choose from!