I started a bit early on the gamay

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I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:39 am

Here is a post on an '04 Reglie from a couple of weeks ago.

Just got some '04 Chermette regular and Chermette/Vissoux cuvee traditionnelle to compare.
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Re: I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:28 pm

Any chance you might be able to look out for some Calif. Gamay there Bill? You bring up an interesting point about the acidity...it was all in the Veramonte!!
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Re: I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:50 pm

Cali gamay? The only one I've seen at all around here is the one from ESJ..and that seems to be a rarity too.
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Re: I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Bob Ross » Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:00 pm

Beringer has one that we sometimes get in this area -- I'll check around. There are less than a thousand acres planted to Gamay in California based on some Wine Institute numbers I saw a while back.
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Re: I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:59 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Beringer has one that we sometimes get in this area -- I'll check around. There are less than a thousand acres planted to Gamay in California based on some Wine Institute numbers I saw a while back.


This gets a little complicated, and Hoke may be able to explain it better than I can, but as I recall it, there used to be a lot of California wine bottled as Gamay, or more specifically, under two varietal designations that have since been phased out: "Napa Gamay" is actually the old, fairly rare French grape Valdiguié, while most of the grapes planted as "Gamay Beaujolais" were actually a minor, undesirable Pinot clone.

Ultimately the federales ruled that Napa Gamay wasn't Gamay, and Beaujolais wasn't Beaujolais. There's certainly <i>some</i> real Gamay still around, but an awful lot of the wine that had been bottled under those two varieties doesn't qualify for the true varietal label. Gallo Sonoma made a varietal Valdiguié for a while that was pretty good but not that cheap (mid-teens during the '90s); I haven't seen any around for years and doubt they still make it.
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Re: I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:07 am

Slow Food USA had a little note on this subject recently, Robin:

The Napa Gamay/Valdiguie Grape of California has been misidentified for decades until the early 1990s when the mistake was discovered. Previously, many California vineyards mislabeled the grape as a Gamay Noir or Gamay Beaujolais. However, DNA testing identified the Napa Gamay not as a Gamay, but as Valdiguie, a varietal from Southern France's Languedoc-Roussillon region. As of now Napa Gamay and Valdiguie are interchangeable, but by April 2007 all wine producers must use only Valdiguie on their labels.

The Valdiguie grape makes a light to medium bodied wine in a style similar to true Gamay from Beaujolais—a juicy, low-tannin, easy drinking wine. The Valdiguie grape is both its highly productive and naturally resistant to powdery mildew.


I wonder if Beringer has dropped the wine; I couldn't find anything on Gamay their website.

Thanks for mentioning the problem; frankly, we drink so little Beaujolais the whole issue went over my head.

Regards, Bob
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Re: I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:36 am

Bob Ross wrote:Slow Food USA had a little note on this subject recently, Robin.


I wonder what prompted it at this time, Bob? I was quoting myself, from articles written in 1998 and 2001. ;)

I wonder if Beringer has dropped the wine; I couldn't find anything on Gamay their website.


I don't know about the other wines, but I'm almost sure that Beringer "Nouveau Gamay" has been just-plain "Nouveau" in recent years.

Unfortunately, I don't see Valdiguié as being very marketable at the price point where it needs to be.
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Re: I started a bit early on the gamay

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:46 am

I guess Slow Food's note was because of the 2007 date that the Gamay labelling has to stop. But I sure don't know anything about the Fed's action. You must be prescient, Janitor. Well done!

I also did a tiny amount of research; Frank Prial had a couple of articles on this subject over the years. I liked this comment from 1997:

Through 1998, the name can be used, but only if the real origin of the wine is indicated. After that, until April 8, 2007, the name Gamay Beaujolais can be used only in conjunction with the source of the wine and the name of the grape it is made from. In France, the Beaujolais producers' organization and the Government-sponsored National Institute of Wine Appellations hailed the ruling and shrugged off the 10-year wait. The two Governments, they said, had battled over the Gamay Beaujolais issue for 50 years.

It's fascinating that the US and France could fight for 50 years over Beaujolais -- if Prial is right, that battle started in 1948.

In any event, well done Janitor. :-)

Regards, Bob
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