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    The Shore Club | SEAFOOD STEAK COCKTAILS
    11 Colonel By Drive,
    Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4

    EMAIL ottawa@theshoreclub.ca
    TEL (613) 569-5050 FAX (613) 569-5055
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Gamay Noir - Poor Man's Burgundy or Grape with Merit?

Gamay Noir - Poor Man's Burgundy or Grape with Merit?

 GAMAY NOIR

Poor Man's Burgundy or Grape with Merit?

By Allison Vidug

At a recent staff tasting at The Shore Club, we explored our collection of Gamay Noir.  To understand Gamay Noir it is important to understand its home land, Beaujolais.  Beaujolais is a grape growing area in the south of Burgundy, just north of the city of Lyon.  It is here on sandy soils that basic Beaujolais is made for everyday sipping.  But in the North of Burgundy, there are ten Crus.  Crus are growing regions recognized for individuality of flavour giving the wines a sense of place.  The name of the local village is given to each of the Beaujolais Crus.   Growing conditions of the Crus the wines presence are the rolling granite hills providing sun exposure and drainage to vines.  This enables the grapes to have a greater concentration of sugar and flavour which provides the wines with substance that allows them to age in bottle for years. 

 

The Gamay grape is considered a cousin to Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir’s home is just north of Beaujolais in the finest wine region in the world, Burgundy.  Both grapes are recognized for their thin skins.  Therefore, lighter pigmentation and lower tannins.  They also have a high acidity which gives them ageability.   Both grapes are loaded with red fruit aromas, such as red currant, strawberry, raspberry and cherry.  Where they differ is that Pinot Noir is more austere and can take a lot of time to develop.  Whereas Gamay Noir is more fruit forward and requires less cellaring time.  There are vinicultural techniques that also determine the final sensory of the wines.  In Beaujolais the technique of carbonic maceration lends to earlier drinking wines.  The definition of carbonic maceration is ‘intercellular fermentation in an anaerobic environment’.  Whole berries are not crushed, but put in a tank where the berries ferment within the skins of the grape.  Since there is maceration with the grape skins there are lower tannins and some fruitier aromas such as ‘banana’ or ‘marshmallow’.  These characteristics are most evident in Beaujolais Nouveau, a local specialty that is wine made from the current year and is released on the third Thursday of November.  It is a very youthful wine that is characterized by the process of carbonic maceration.  More serious Beaujolais, may contain only a small portion of grapes that were fermented via carbonic maceration.  The rest of the wine would receive traditional fermentation and time to age in barrel.     

 

Here is a little information on the Gamay Noirs currently available at The Shore Club Toronto.

2015 Malivoire ‘Courtney Vineyard’ Gamay Noir, Beamsville Bench, Canada
Gamay is a grape that is showing lots of promise in Ontario. Malivoire’s Courtney Vineyard Gamay could be one the best examples.   The superb ripeness from this particular vineyard with the fine winemaking skills produce a concentrated Gamay with deep ruby purple colour.  The bouquet is filled with notes of red and black currants, cinnamon, cedar and a hint of barnyard.  This beautiful local wine is bold enough to pair with a delicate filet mignon or half roasted chicken. 

 

2014 Stéphane Aviron, Beaujolais-Village, France
Stéphane Aviron is bringing a new approach to Beaujolais with old techniques.  The young vigneron is using traditional Burgundian approaches and sources old vines to craft his Beaujolais wines.  His determination and dedication have elevated even the Beaujolais-Villages wines to a level of complexity rarely seen.  The Beaujolais Village is a medium bodied wine with notes of red and black licorice loads of ripe strawberry and hints of pepper.  Very ripe and agreeable.  A perfect “bistro” wine to accompany a variety of appetizers.  

2013 Nicole Chanrion, Côte-de-Brouilly, France
Nicole Chanrion is beagan her career at the family estate in the late 1970s.  She is the sixth generation and the first female to run the estate.  In fact she farms the 6.5 hectares herself as well as vinifying the wine.  The wines from the Côte-de-Brouilly stand out amoungts the Crus because of the sloped vineyards on ancient volcanic soil.  The wine show development after time in the bottle. The colour is ruby garnet.  The bouquet is layered with notes of potpourri, dried red fruit, forest floor and minerality.  A truly special Beaujolais

 

 

2016 Domaine Lapierre, Morgon, France
Domaine Lapierre is considered one of Beaujolais’ finest producers.  In the 1970s Marcel Lapierre became known as one of the Fab Four producers who were making Beaujolais the best it could be by rejuvenating traditional techniques that had gone to the wayside.  The estate’s 70 year old vines are farmed organically and biodynamically on granite soils (the most prized soils in Beaujolais) and harvested at the last minute for optimal ripeness.  In the glass the wine is a brilliant light ruby colour.  The aromas are a dance of cherries, red licorice, tar, wet hay and cola.  Bright acidity and low tannins make this a perfect wine to pair with fish.  Try The Shore Club’s Ahi Tuna Steak with a side of Corriander Ginger Dressing. 

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