Gamay or Gamay Noir (technical name) is the grape found in light-body red wine from Beaujolais region of France. Beaujolais wine, similar to Pinot Noir, has light tannins and with its high acidity is ideal pairing with Thanksgiving dinner.
Beaujolais is a small area in central France adjacent to Burgundy but the wines are an inexpensive alternative to crazy expensive red Burgundies. Beaujolais wines fall into three categories.
- Cru Beaujolais is the highest quality and includes 10 regions whose name appears distinctly on the bottle. Crus are age-worthy to 10 years and cost $20-$40, though many are available for $25. Popular Cru regions are Morgon, Brouilly and Moulin-a-Vent.
- Beaujolais-Villages is the level below Crus and includes 38 communes. Villages will improve with aging though best drank in 5 years; typical cost is $15.
- Beaujolais standard is the level below Villages and includes inexpensive Beaujolais ($10 – $12) from popular negociants such as Louis Jadot and George Duboeuf.
NOTE: I exclude Beaujolais Nouveau from other categories to avoid damaging Beaujolais’ reputation. Lower quality Gamay is bottled only 6-8 weeks after harvest and it is released on Beaujolais Nouveau Day, celebrated around the world on 3rd Thursday in November.
STEPHANE AVIRON MOULIN-À-VENT 2017
CRU Moulin-a-Vent Beaujolais | $22
Wine Spectator 90 Rating says “A supple profile offers glossy cherry and raspberry notes in this light-bodied red, with accents of orange zest, licorice and rose petal adding complexity through the spicy finish. Drink now through 2024.”
MICHEL GUIGNIER MORGON Vielle Vignes 2019
CRU Morgon Beaujolais | $21
John Gilman 93 Rating says “This old vine bottling is made from vines in three vineyards, including Côte du Py, with vines averaging 60years age. Vieilles Vignes offers beautifully bright and sappy nose of black cherries, sweet dark berries, bonfire, pigeon, dark soil tones, touch of espresso and lovely topnote of thyme. The palate is bright, full and complex, with good core of fruit, fine soil undertow, moderate, buried tannins; lovely length and grip on beautifully balanced finish. This young Morgon could do with some bottle age to let tannins start to completely soften up, but wine is certainly approachable out of the blocks and plenty of folks are going to end up drinking their bottles on the early side, despite the excellent potential for aging in evidence here. Fine juice. 2023-2050+.”
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone,
Roberto l’Uomo del Vino (Bob the WineGuy)