Who Makes the Best Gamay Wines in the World?…

>by Melba Allen

Regardless of the fact that wines made from the gamay grape helped to save many poor souls from the black death that broke out in Europe between 1348 and 1350, it was eventually banished from its home village called Gamay just south of Beaune, by the Dukes of Burgundy (first Philippe the bold and then again by Philippe the Good) because it was considered of poor quality and it produces an abundance of juice to make very fruity wine.  So the lowly gamay grape found new dwellings near Macon in Southern Burgundy and in the Beaujolais region where here it is the only red grape used for red wines and where it excels!

Today, we all know the gamay grape for making that unfortunate wine with a bad reputation, the Beaujolais Nouveau. However, there are 10 Crus Appellation of this beautiful region that I will talk about in later blogs. So for the first time in history, a contest was held in the honor of the gamay grape. In Lyon, France on January 15, 2011, one of our wine profilers was among over 130 judges who tasted more than 600 different wines made only from the gamay grape. The judges were composed of professionals and armatures alike, to have the best representation of consumer tastes as possible. The best Gamay Wine in the World Contest was organized by Armonia, (l‘Initaitive d’Inter Beaujolais) and presented by Dominique Capart, President of the ‘Inter Beaujolais’ gave 167 medals in total, in which 42 Great Gold, 57 Gold and 68 Silver medals won. A few of the Great gold winners in France were Anita and André Kuhnel with their 2010 Moulin a Vent, the Cave Saint Verny with their 2008 AC red from the Côtesd’Auvergne; the Domaine de la Chignardière for their vin de pays Val de Loire 2010 rosé.

Although there are many clones of the gamay grape, and the biggest majority of the gamay grape is cultivated mostly in Southern Burgundy and Beaujolais, you can also find it in Touraine and other parts of the world. Today, you can find this grape planted in Switzerland, theU.K. Spain, Slovakia, Italy, Croatia, Canada and the USA. Of the 167 medals given, there were 4 Great golds, 6 golds, and 9 Silver medals won by foreign wine-makers. The grand champion of the foreign medal winners was Switzerland with 18 out of the 19 foreign medals won, which of course please Mr Nicolas Schorderet of the ‘Office des Vins Vaudois’ in Switzerland, who also participated in the event.  Top winners were the Cave des Amandiers for their Gamay Vieilles Vignes (old vines) 2009 red, and the Domaine de la Mermière for their old vines, AOC – Geneva 2009 red.







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