Unpolished Grape Series: Gamay


Gamay is a black grape that grows in France’s Burgundy region of Beaujolais. The wines here are named by the region, “Beaujolais,” and are usually light, fruity, and made for early drinking. To retain the fresh fruit notes, Gamay often undergoes carbonic or semi-carbonic maceration to draw out the bright flavors and minimize skin contact. Beaujolais is most commonly celebrated in November, where its “Nouveau” style is a staple on American tables during the holiday season.

This grape has high acidity, low to medium alcohol, and low tannin. It is known for its red fruit flavors, including strawberry, red cherry, cranberry, plum, raspberry and red currant. Wines made using the carbonic maceration fermentation technique are light and fruity with added notes of banana, violet, bubblegum, and candy. Aged Gamay wine generally has more body and developed, complex flavors.

Beaujolais & Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais is wine from the Beaujolais region of Burgundy. “Beaujolais Nouveau” is a version of this wine that is released to consumers immediately following harvest and fermentation, without any aging. The word “nouveau” means, “recent.” This wine is released every November and meant for immediate consumption.

Beaujolais Nouveau is released one week before Thanksgiving, on the 3rd Thursday of November. Because of its timing and flavor, it tends to pair well with Thanksgiving dishes and has become a popular staple on many American tables during the holidays. Beaujolais Nouveau is made using the “carbonic maceration” and “semi carbonic maceration” wine-making techniques. Grapes go through a period of “inter-cellular” fermentation, where the juice ferments on the inside of the grape to create alcohol and unique flavors.

Food Pairings

Gamay pairs well with an array of meats, such as juicy steak, sausages, and meatloaf. As for seafood, it is a great partner for grilled cod, salmon, shrimp, calamari and sushi. It also compliments savory entrees like roasted vegetables, tomato-based pastas, and Portabella mushrooms. It is often enjoyed along soft cheeses like Brie, mozzarella, goat cheese, and mild cheddar.


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