loader from loading.io

Ep 341: The Grape Miniseries -- Gamay

Wine for Normal People

Release Date: 09/08/2020

Ep 347: The Grape Miniseries -- Viognier show art Ep 347: The Grape Miniseries -- Viognier

Wine for Normal People

Saved from the brink of extinction just 50 years ago, Viognier (pronounced vee-ohn-yay), is a white grape that's native to the Northern Rhône in France. The grape produces effusive wines with a strong aromatic character -- peaches, apricots, flowers, herbs, and ginger are common -- and when made well it has a medium body with a touch of acidity and a pleasant bitterness. This week we continue the grape mini-series by exploring this comeback kid and the pleasure it can bring when in the right hands. 

info_outline
Ep 346: Port Wine show art Ep 346: Port Wine

Wine for Normal People

Port is an historical, complex, and sometimes confusing wine, but it is more than worth your time to learn about. M.C. Ice go over everything from the vineyards of the Douro, to the history of this wine (with geopolitical implications), to how it's made, and the array of styles. There's something for everyone in the world of Port and after this show, you should be able to figure out which is for you!

info_outline
Ep 345: CVNE -- A Rioja Legend with CEO Victor Urrutia show art Ep 345: CVNE -- A Rioja Legend with CEO Victor Urrutia

Wine for Normal People

I welcome Victor Urrutia, the CEO of the Compañia Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) one of the most famed bodegas in Rioja, which has been around since 1879. Victor is part of the 5th generation of a family that has run CVNE (said coo-NAY) for 141 years. We discuss the storied history of this classic, traditional, high quality bodega, and probe into a dozen other Rioja-related topics.

info_outline
Ep 344: Wines for Transitional Weather (Spring and Fall) show art Ep 344: Wines for Transitional Weather (Spring and Fall)

Wine for Normal People

During transitions to cooler or warmer weather, what should you drink? I am a firm believer that we should drink wines appropriate for the seasons: crisp, acidic wines for warm weather & fuller, more alcoholic ones for cool temps. This show covers both!

info_outline
Ep 343: The Exquisite Wines of Alsace with Thierry Fritsch of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA) show art Ep 343: The Exquisite Wines of Alsace with Thierry Fritsch of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA)

Wine for Normal People

We welcome Thierry Fritsch, the head oenologist and chief wine educator of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA), the regional wine regulatory and promotional body of the Alsace wine region. Thierry tells us about Alsace -- its wines, its terroir, and its rich history, as well as exciting new developments in the works.

info_outline
Ep 342: Jane Anson on her book Ep 342: Jane Anson on her book "Inside Bordeaux", a fresh look at this classic region

Wine for Normal People

Jane Anson, award-winning writer, the foremost authority on Bordeaux, and one of the nicest, most talented people in wine, returns to the show to discuss her opus, Inside Bordeaux, a must-have book that took years to research and write. It provides a comprehensive look at the region’s true strengths – it’s terroir, farming, grapes, and land, rather than pretty buildings and rich people. It's a fresh look at this famed region and shows why Bordeaux is and always will be a great wine power.

info_outline
Ep 341: The Grape Miniseries -- Gamay show art Ep 341: The Grape Miniseries -- Gamay

Wine for Normal People

This week we return to our grape miniseries to cover an old Burgundian variety, one of the 20 kids of Gouais Blanc and Pinot, that emerged around the 1300s. We cover its fascinating history; we talk about how it survived defamation by Dukes, centuries later became one of the most popular wines in the world (Beaujolais Nouveau), fell from grace, and now is securing its place as a serious, multifaceted grape that makes complex, interesting wines (especially in its home of Beaujolais, France).

info_outline
Ep 185, The Remake: 7 Types of (Non-Winery) Wine Clubs show art Ep 185, The Remake: 7 Types of (Non-Winery) Wine Clubs

Wine for Normal People

Of all the shows in the catalog, one has always stuck out as not really fitting in so this week we’re scrapping the old 185 and we’re replacing it with something that is related but more timely, relevant and just plain better!!

info_outline
Ep 340: UK Wine and its Past, Present, and Future show art Ep 340: UK Wine and its Past, Present, and Future

Wine for Normal People

Although limited in availability, English wine is rising in popularity. Climate change, bedrock soil that's similar to Champagne and Chablis, and growers with know-how have changed England from a producer of mainly plonk wine into a viable wine nation, with sparkling wine leading the charge. Access in the US is limited, so admittedly this is more of an academic exercise, but in the show we discuss the history, as well as the present, and bright future of UK wine. 

info_outline
Ep 339: Puglia, Italy -- New World Wine From an Old World Country show art Ep 339: Puglia, Italy -- New World Wine From an Old World Country

Wine for Normal People

In this show we tackle the heel of Italy’s boot (and the area that covers a part of the calf!): Puglia (pool-YA), which is in a transition from a bulk wine area to a quality wine area. Taking cues from New World winemakers, with whom they had a lot in common from a terroir POV, Puglia are modernizing and making better wines than ever before. We give an overview of what to try.

info_outline
 
More Episodes

This week we return to our grape miniseries to cover an old Burgundian variety, one of the 20 kids of Gouais Blanc and Pinot, that emerged around the 1300s. We cover its fascinating history; we talk about how it survived defamation by Dukes, centuries later became one of the most popular wines in the world (Beaujolais Nouveau), fell from grace and now is securing its place as a serious, multifaceted grape that makes complex, interesting wines (especially in its ancestral home of Beaujolais, France).

 

Here are the show notes:

The Gamay grape and its ideal terroir

  • Often called Gamay à Jus Blanc (Gamay with white juice) to distinguish it from 2 teinturiers (grapes with red juice) that mutated from it.
  • The grape is early budding, ripening, and not vigorous if grown on the right soils and in moderate temps.
  • Gamay is predominantly grown in the Beaujolais region, just south of Burgundy. Its highest expression is when it grows on granite soils in the northern area of Beaujolais, in 10 superior communes. These are, listed in order of lightest to heavy: Chiroubles, St. Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent

Gamay Wines

  • Wines of Gamay are high in acidity, can be light or dark in color, can be rough in tannins or silky (all depends on terroir), have red berry, cherry, blackberry fruit notes, and stronger notes of flowers like violets, roses, and iris. I find they often have a note similar to a graham cracker, and they can show smoke or flint minerals aromas too.
  • The wines often are compared to Pinot Noir but they are brighter, a bit less complex and often show a delicate bitter note, which can be very satisfying with the right food.

Winemaking – the problem of carbonic maceration

  • Traditional or better quality Beaujolais, in particular, from the Cru or Beaujolais Villages are made in the traditional way wines are made (the quick and dirty: crush, macerate, ferment, oak age if desired, clean up, bottle) but Beaujolais Nouveau gets much of its flavor from a very quick vinification method that allows producers to take wine off the vines and have it be ready to sit on shelves within a few months’ time. This process is called carbonic maceration and it happens in lieu of crushing and macerating in the traditional way. The quick and dirty on it:
    • Whole bunches of grapes are put sealed vats that are blanketed with carbon dioxide (manual harvesting to ensure grapes aren’t broken during picking is important here)
    • Grapes at the bottom of the vat are crushed by weight of the grapes sitting on to top. The ones at the top aren’t crushed but the ones at the bottom release carbon dioxide
    • That carbon dioxide encourages fermentation within the juice that sits inside the skins of the grapes. But without oxygen and time, quick fermentation occurs and creates flavors like bubble gum and bananas.
    • And that’s what Beaujolais Nouveau usually tastes like!

 

 

Most Gamay is grown in France, where it is the 7th most planted red variety

Beaujolais:

  • 2/3 of plantings of Gamay are in and around Beaujolais, where it makes up 98% of production
  • 12 appellations have Gamay as the primary grape– the 10 crus plus -- Beaujolais AOC Beaujolais Villages AOC
  • Again, the Cru are: Chiroubles, St. Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent

Other parts of France:

  • Burgundy: Grown mainly in the Mâconnais, just north of Beaujolais. The grape is used for Crémant de Bourgogne and is sometimes blended with Pinot Noir in a wine called Bourgogne Passetoutgrain
  • Loire: Gamay can be light, peppery, and aromatic when it ripens well. Most of it is grown around the city of Tours in the Cheverny, Coteaux de Vendômois and other nearby AOCs. The wines are vintage dependent and can be thin in bad years.
  • Savoie and the Rhône each have some minor plantings

Other areas with Gamay include:

  • Switzerland, where Gamay is mixed with Pinot Noir to create Dôle in Valais (Bourgogne Passetoutgrains in Burgundy)
  • Valle d’Aosta of northern Italy (not too far from Switzerland!)
  • Eastern Europe
  • New Zealand: I mention Te Mata as one I’ve had and loved
  • Australia: Some smaller, cooler areas of Victoria
  • Canada: Niagara Peninsula, Niagara on the Lake
  • The US: Texas, Michigan, New York State (Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley) and…
    • California: I tell the story of the original Charles F. Shaw and his love of Gamay (and how his winery failed and he sold his name to Freddie Franzia to become what is now… Two Buck Chuck). I also add that Valdiguié, a French grape so bad it’s not grown in France anymore, was confused with Gamay
    • Oregon: At the same latitude of Beaujolais, there is lots of potential with the right soils. The grapes here are, in fact, Gamay à Jus Blanc, and they make lovely examples of the grape.

For more information on Beaujolais, the Beaujolais appellation web site is wonderful (this is not sponsored, I just love the site!)

_________________________________________

 

Don't forget to sign up for my live online wine classes: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes 

_____________________________________________________

Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

Visit: www.wineaccess.com/normal and for a limited time get $20 off your first order of $50 or more! 

Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range). Check out their awesome wine site with fantastic, hard to find wines -- you won't regret it! 

 

Thanks to YOU! The podcast supporters on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/winefornormalpeople