Gamay Noir

  (gah-may NAHWR)
Same grape as that used for Beaujolais but in other areas of France and outside of France it will be identified as Gamay Noir
Synonyms: Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc, Gamay Noir

Wine Name: Beaujolais, Nouveau Beaujolais, Nouveau Beaujolais Rosé

Background: The Gamay grape is strange in that it has the flavors of a red wine but the body and balance of a white wine. Because of the way the grapes are fermented whole without crushing (carbonic maceration), it is fruity with flavors of cherry, raspberry, bananas, pears, black pepper and sometimes even bubble gum or juicy fruit. It is low in tannins but moderate in acidity. Alcohol levels are usually on the low side. The wine is meant to be drunk young and about 1/3 of Beaujolais in the Burgundy region of France is released very early (Noveau Beaujolais or en primeur). Some consider the nouveau version as just grape juice “kicked up a notch.”

The next level up is plain Beaujolais mostly produced in the southern region. A higher grade that is fuller-bodied and with more fruit intensity is Villages Beaujolais authorized in 39 of the communes. It is still a wine to be consumed without aging. The highest quality level is Cru Beaujolais which is even more perfumed and concentrated. It can be produced in any one of 10 approved areas: St Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-À-Vent, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgan, Régnié, Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. Some of these from a good vintage year, especially Morgan and Moulin-À-Vent, can age well for a decade.

Classic Brands and Sources: Cru Beaujolais from the areas of Moulin-à-Vent, Morgan, Fleurie, Chénas and Juliénas; Villages level by Louis Jadot and Georges Duboeuf or any Cru level producer; and Duboeuf for Nouveau

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Nouveau

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry but juicy fruit

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #2 – typical Beaujolais

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry but light fruit

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #3 – Villages level

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #4 – Cru Beaujolais

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with lighter and medium bodied dishes especially those with some acidity

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna and grilled meats with acidic sauce, sausage, pasta with light tomato sauce

Cheese Pairings:
Brie with rind, Camembert with rind, Cantal, cheddar (aged), goat’s cheese, Emmental, Feta, Morbier, Muenster, Raclette, Vacherin, Vermont Shepherd