If you are fan of Pinot Noir (and if you’re not, you should be) you should try Gamay Noir wines. It is safe to say that Gamay has not gotten the recognition it deserves. Wines labeled PTG (Passe-Tout-Grains) are a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay. Gamay Noir is the smooth, fruity, juicy grape used to make Beaujolais in France. Beaujolais is very popular in Paris. Sit down at a sidewalk café or bistro and order red wine and you’re likely to be served a glass of it. Gamay wines tend to be lighter in body than other red wines, but packed with aromas and flavours of black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, earth and forest floor. You might also notice a hint of peaches, roses, violets, pepper or spice. Gamay is cold hardy, ripens earlier than Pinot Noir and is a strong grower. All these qualities make it thrive in BC.
As these wines are fruity, lighter in tannins and have good acidity, they are ideal thirst-quenching summer wines and can benefit from being served slightly chilled; about fifteen to twenty minutes in the refrigerator. Gamay is a red wine that is very easy to drink all by itself. It is also an excellent choice for many a summer fare, whether picnic lunches or foods off the barbeque. Try it with grilled Italian sausages, salmon, tuna or homemade pizzas. During the rest of the year, serve it with meals such as coq au vin, roasted chicken or turkey, pork, stews, and creamy pastas, especially recipes containing bacon. Cheese pairings include, Brie, cheddar and chèvre.
What led me to write this article? I am admittedly a fan of Gamay, and there are many good, reasonably priced, BC examples, including Blue Mountain, Desert Hills, Haywire, Hillside, Joie, Orofino, Robin Ridge, Sandhill, St. Hubertus, and Volcanic Hills, among others. Mount Boucherie, one of my favourites, has just lowered their price over $3.00 to $12.00 for their 2011 vintage. Drop by your local VQA store and pick some up. They also offer a delicious Family Reserve Gamay at $20.00.
By the way, Gamay also makes some great rosé and sparkling wines, but that is a subject for another day.