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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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Forgotten French Wine Grape



Forgotten French Wine Grape. Ok – maybe “forgotten” is a little stong. “Neglected”, “Little known Internationally” might be better descriptions for the Gamay Grape. Although a flavorful and fruity little devil(and isn’t that the best kind?) the Gamay’s place in the French Wine Pantheon is usually overshadowed by it’s more celebrated cousins. The Cabernets, the Sauvignons and the Merlots.

To wine lovers in gerneral and residents of the Loire in particular however, the Gamay is not a stranger. As the Touraine appelation – much prized – is 100% Gamay. (And a favorite on the Bicycle Gourmet’s table!)

Otherwise, Gamay’s fame – especially to non-French consumers is usually associated with Beaujolais Wine.

Wine Sleuth’s Steve Gross  sings it praises :

“Just to the north of Burgundy, you’ll find the birthplace of one of the easiest drinking red wines.

Flowery labels on inexpensive bottles entice many new wine drinkers to try the wines of Beaujolais. Relatively simple, fresh, and juicy (an odd term for grape juice, but it fits in this case), Beaujolais is a great summer picnic wine, a apt compliment to warmer temperatures and fresh air.

Each year, in November, comes the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. Beaujolais Nouveau is the bottling of that year’s vintage, and it certainly tastes new.

If you haven’t noticed, many wines are not released until several years after they’ve been put into barrels.

Sometimes this is the result of laws regarding the naming of the wine (for example, the Italian reds Chianti Classico and Chianti Riserva).

Often, however, wines are allowed to gain age at the winery before release. This allows for a merging of elements within the wine, and the time is worth it in most cases.

Beaujolais, however, is usually drunk early in its lifetime, within two or three years of release.

Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape
The grape in Beaujolais is Gamay, which makes for very juicy, fresh-tasting, relatively uncomplicated wine, even after a few years of age.

Due to the pricing of most of the available wines (seldom more than $20, though there are exceptions), Beaujolais is a great wine to try, and to help white wine drinkers move into the world of red wine.

You won’t have to untangle layers of oak-induced spiciness, chocolate, or smoke here.

Georges Duboeuf is perhaps the best-known producer of Beaujolais (This is the flowery label reference from the opening of this post), with wines from several of the villages within the region: Morgon, Fleurie, Julienas, and Brouilly are several of them. Cru Beaujolais, the highest designation, uses the name of the village, not just calling themselves Beaujolais.

These wines can offer more complexity and a bit of a sense of place, though the name comes from the entire village, not the name of a single vineyard as is the case in Burgundy.

Today’s wine drinkers have been lucky to have several outstanding vintages of Beaujolais in recent years. The 2009 and 2010 wines have been considered very strong demonstrations of what Beaujolais is all about, and we are lucky to have these wines on our store shelves right now.”

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30 Responses to “Forgotten French Wine Grape”

  1. jerry taylor says:

    great post title!

  2. carrie fishman says:

    i like how sometimes you give others who have good information a chance to share it..like in this post….

  3. fanny ardmore says:

    always great to get more info from youi…nice video…but not as good as yours.

  4. lars olssen says:

    with ya there fanny..NOBODY does french life videos like DA BG!

  5. renaldo cortez says:

    very interesting to get this take on “the forgotten grape.” would be great if DA BG could travel south to report on our many fine (and little known) high quality spanish wines!

  6. ian carmen says:

    i’ve been enjoying the beaujolais for a quite a long time and applaud you on bringing it to wider attention. it’s a very fine grape.

  7. bill abernathay says:

    i’m not in the loire (or anywhere near it – SADLY!….but i have been enjoyed gamay in toraine wines.(whenever i can find them here)

  8. bronwyn grand says:

    always enjoy your posts…….even the guest ones….although this guy doesn’t have DA BG humor…..oh well! can’t have it all all the time, right?

  9. tommy carmenti says:

    had no clue about this until this post;;;MANY THANKS§

  10. cassie flockhart says:

    thanks to you..will be searching the shelves for gamay wine!

  11. walter kimmleman says:

    all this attention to wine is like talking about sex. does nothing to enhance the experience.

  12. susan cummings says:

    Walter – get a life!

  13. al forman says:

    very informative post…but, as one of your other commenters said, lacking the BG humor!

  14. dominique martinez says:

    would love to get some feedback from you(and the other commentors, of course) on recipies that would go well with this wine!

  15. barney phrasmer says:

    Dominique…ALL receipes go well with wine!

  16. homer winthrop says:

    i hear ya barney!

  17. roone anderson says:

    strange co-incidence this post…i was just planning a trip to “beaujolais country”, and i can assure you, for me gamay is NOT a forgotten grape!

  18. teresa bastion says:

    had NO IDEA about gamay or beaujolais!….so big thanks for the education.

  19. marly starwater says:

    haven’t forgotten it – drinking it NOW!

  20. bob zetters says:

    looking forward to more great posts and videos from you. you are on of my absolute internet favorites. keep up the good work!

  21. shannon marshall says:

    does this mean you’ll be doing more posts on the “unforgotten grapes?”

  22. sheldon andleson says:

    this video is ok…..but expecting to see a real video from DA BG soon!

  23. alice mcguire says:

    I’m with sheldon…more bg videos..pleeeeeeze!!!

  24. sangetor fornato says:

    i taste for ths first time this wine and find it very fine. much happy to read you. excuse me english.

  25. mason willis says:

    more great stuff! – can’t get over how you keep your quality so high! (do you have elves?)

  26. cal perkins says:

    i’m wonderin……if you have “elfettes?”

  27. amanda steffens-clark says:

    our visits to the beaujolais area have always been very festive and with a family atmosphere from all the locals…even tho’ we are clearly vacationing brits! so…any of your readers who haven’t been there should go!

  28. jane planter says:

    amanda – you’ve sold me§ where do i sign up?

  29. rand jacovich says:

    great stuff – thanks to this i’ve got the beaujolias country (and the wine, of course) on my “must taste” list for this summer!

  30. anders nordstrom says:

    glad to see this post! now others will be able to enjoy the beaujolais as i have for many years now…..although it’s a long drive down. (from denmark!)

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