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Wine Advisor Express:
Grapes and wine - Gamay and Beaujolais

Gamay (pronounced "gam-may") is a widely planted grape, but its name is less familiar than you might expect. That's because, in the French region where more than half the world's supply of Gamay is grown, the geographical name, not the grape, goes on the label. It's Beaujolais ("Bow-zhow-lay"), of course, one of the freshest and fruitiest of wines. American wine fanciers may know that, for many years, Napa Gamay (actually Valdiguie) and Gamay Beaujolais (probably an offshoot of Pinot Noir) were used for similar fruity California wines; those names are now being phased out by regulation.

Although the large Beaujolais producer Georges Duboeuf makes by far the most widely distributed and easily available Beaujolais, I enjoy exploring the smaller, less-well-known producers, like this one made from "old vines" Gamay:

Chateau de la Terriere 1998 Beaujolais-Villages Vieilles Vignes ($11.99)
Attractive cherry-red in color, it breathes fresh and delicate aromas of strawberries. Its flavor is ripe and juicy, "dry" but so fruity that drinking it is almost like eating fresh strawberries. Tart acidity and light peppery spice persist in a long finish. An exceptional Beaujolais. U.S. importer: New Castle Imports Inc., Myrtle Beach, S.C. (June 12, 2001)

FOOD MATCH: A good partner with a quick dinner-in-a-dish meal of beef meatballs flavored with a bit of goat cheese served on orzo pasta simmered with shredded cabbage.

Express Notes:

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Wednesday, June 13, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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