Unless you are a connoisseur of French wines, you may not be familiar with Gamay wine. It is also known as Beaujolais wine because it is mainly grown in the Beaujolais region of Burgundy. Outside of France, it is produced in small quantities by wineries in California, Australia and New Zealand.
The wine tends to be light with a low alcohol level, but care has to be taken during the production to have it just right. There is only a small window of opportunity before the wine becomes too light, too acidic or too thin. This wine is usually aged less than one year and they should be consumed within two years after they are bottled.
One of the distinctive features of Gamay wine is its scent. Like other red wines, it does have the scent of ripe red berries. However, since it is aged in wood barrels, it takes on some of the scent characteristics of the wood, giving it a scent of vanilla, oak or smoke.
While these scents are similar to that of other wines, if you smell the wine just above the rim of the glass, you will get the smell of ripe yellow pears. The scent of banana is always present, but this is more like an artificial scent, such as you would find in banana flavored candy. One of the most unusual scents of this wine is that of Bubblegum.
One of the reasons why the Gamay grape is not widely grown is that it does need granitic soil in order to thrive, which it does have in the Beaujolais region. The grape, itself, is dark red with white juice and tastes very smooth and fruity.
The full name of the grape is Gamay Noir á Jus Blan, which sums up what the description of the grape-black grape with white juice. In areas where the soil and climate conditions are just right, this grape grows well and produces an abundant yield. It is a temperamental grape however, similar to Pinot Noir, that requires precise growing conditions.
The Gamay grape was first discovered in the mid-1300's in the village of Gamay, from which it takes its name. The juice and wine was very beneficial in helping the people of the village recover from the effects of the Black Death.
It ripened two weeks earlier than other grape varieties and was not as hard to cultivate, which led to its popularity in this wine-growing area of France. However, the Duke of Burgundy outlawed the cultivation of the grape in favor of planting grapes that produced more elegant wines.
Connoisseurs of wine will tell you that Gamay wine is a very pleasant drink when slightly chilled. There are several varieties of this wine that range from deep purple to light rose in color. It is also suitable to mix with other red wines such as Merlot and Carignane for a combination of flavors and scents.
This is the choice of many who order a glass of wine in a bistro, but it goes well with almost any meat dish. It also goes well with tuna. It is one of those wines that you don't have to sip. It is easy to drink and since it is an inexpensive French wine, you can have a supply of it on ice to serve guests at your next barbecue or informal gathering.
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She is a frequent wine taster and enjoys researching the history of wine making and famous vineyards. For a wide selection of varietals including Gamay and Carignane, please visit http://www.wineaccess.com/ .