I know what you’re thinking: Beaujolais Nouveau. But wait! There’s so much more going on with Gamay than the November fresh press dressed up with pretty flowered labels.
Gamay usually produces a high-acid red, not very tannic, with flavors and aromas of red fruits and “earth” – think strawberry, tart cherry, or cranberry, swirling around with fermented tea leaves, rosemary, maybe some oak. Not as complex as my other earthy-fruity favorite, pinot noir, but delicious all the same, and like pinot noir, plays nicely with food. (But at a fraction of the price. You’re going to find great Beaujolais in the $15 – 30 range.)
Beaujolais is a region in France, just south of Burgundy, comprised of twelve appellations, Beaujolais (which includes our friend Beaujolais Nouveau), Beaujolais-Villages, and ten named vineyard sites that make up the Cru Beaujolais: St. Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin à Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly – you’ll see these names on the labels. (Not at your wine shop? Ask the owner to bring some in, neither of you will regret it!)
Beaujolais are fantastic “food wines”, as their high acidity and low tannins help them complement a variety of foods – a real plus when you’re making a meal of appetizers or indulging in a restaurant’s enthusiastic creativity. Our server at Rose’s Luxury in Washington D.C. suggested a Beaujolais, and it complemented everything from oysters and a spicy Thai-inspired pork and lychee salad to a ragu. So good, we ordered another bottle to last us through dessert!
Wine Recommendations from Ripe:
Kermit Lynch imports a variety of great wines from Beaujolais – these are my current favorites:
- Dupeuble Beaujolais 2014
- Thivin Côte de Brouilly 2014
- Lapierre Morgon 2013 & 2014