“Oh my gosh, is it hot!”
I think that may be the most common thing I hear these days. It seems that nearly everywhere in the USA and Europe it is just plain hot this summer. The east coast is supposed to hit 100+ this week.
So what’s a wine enthusiast to do when the mercury rises and there’s some meat on the grill, or a cold chicken salad on the plate? Sure white wine will do, but why be forced to drink that pale stuff. There must be a red wine that can do the job and still be refreshing on a hot summer day.
Gamay to the rescue!
Gamay is one of those grapes that is not as well known as where it’s grown. Beaujolais is the home of Gamay, and with the exception of a few dedicated producers elsewhere, really the place where just about all the good stuff comes from. And we’re not talking about that Beaujolais Nouveau stuff that gets pushed on everyone at Thanksgiving. Real Beaujolais can be a complex beverage of fruit and earth as well as a refreshing quaff.
So this month in Wine Focus we turn our attention to Gamay. I’ve only recently become a convert to this underrated grape, thanks to some friends who have helped me to pick out a few good examples. Beaujolais from Jean Paul Brun, Chateau Thivin, Coudert and Louis Jadot have already come and gone this summer. There’s more to come, from producers like Breton, Bouchard and Lapierre.
In the new world I actually have a dirty secret that I had forgotten until putting fingers to keyboard. Beringer’s Gamay Beaujolais (not actually made from Gamay, or at least not back then) was one of the first wines I ever bought.
Getting back to actual Gamay, there are some good new world producers. Our very own WLDG-er Steve Edmunds makes his Bone-Jolly. It’s very good, and true to its grape and place (El Dorado County), as all of Steve’s wines are. Up in Canada there’s Chateau des Charmes of Ontario that makes a lovely Gamay also with varietal appeal.
Oh and one other thing: Gamay tends to be inexpensive! So if you’re on a wine budget, or even if you’re not, you can take a trip to your favorite shop and hop on the Gamay bandwagon for very little money. So get hoppin’!
And about that heat…Gamay is great with a little chill on it. It’s even more refreshing.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.