The gamay grape, an ancient natural clone of pinot noir, is often associated with the lighter-bodied, fruity wines from the French appellation of Beaujolais. These include Beaujolais Nouveau, a special category of very young red wine that’s released for sale annually on the third Thursday in November. But gamay can also be used to make weightier reds produced in certain Beaujolais villages known as crus. It can also be found in robust blends made in other areas of France including the Rhône Valley. The following are two examples:
Domaines Laurent Perrachon et Fils 2017 Château de la Bottière, Juliénas, FranceBought • The Wine Merchant, 7817 Forsyth Boulevard, in September for $13.99.
Description • Fresh and fragrant, this medium-bodied red scored 93 points from critic James Suckling. It comes from Juliénas, a Beaujolais cru named for Roman leader Julius Caesar that is known for its heftier reds. This is a lively, spicy red that tastes of juicy strawberries and other red fruit. It’s an easy-to-drink wine with soft tannins and good acidity that would be great with Thanksgiving turkey, roast chicken and duck.
Pierre le Grand 2016 Syrah-Gamay, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes, France Bought • The Wine Merchant, 7817 Forsyth Boulevard, in September for $12.99.
Description • This wine comes from Collines Rhodaniennes, which is a designated Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP) area that covers most of the northern Rhône viticultural region. A blend of 60% syrah and 40% gamay, this red is more robust than the Juliénas. It’s also an earthier, drier and more tannic wine that’s a bit rustic. This is a flavorful, peppery wine that is best enjoyed with food. It would go well with burgers and barbecued meats.