Last month the results of the inaugural 2011 International Gamay Competition were announced. Beaujolais bagged the most medals. No surprises there, but you might be surprised to learn that the Loire was awarded four “Grand Gold” medals, four gold medals and 1 silver (see here for the full results).
As the name of my stand out Gamay from this year’s Loire Salon reminded me (Le Domaine de la Garrelière’s Gamay Sans Tra-La-La), they just don’t make such a song and dance about it!
In warmer years in particular, like 2009 and 2010, Loire Gamay makes for a joyous yet sensual “vin de soif” whether tout seul or blended with Pinot Noir. Producers like Claude Papin of Pierre Bise and Jean Francois Merieau also make more serious, structured wines.
Here’s the heads up on my “go to Loire Gamays” from this year’s Salon (NB most of which were samples):
Le Domaine de la Garrelière Gamay Sans Tra-la-la 2010 (Touraine)
With carbonic maceration and zilch extraction it’s as fresh as a daisy and very direct on nose and palate with seductive, scented lilies, white pepper and a sweet core of red fruits. Gorgeous intensity.
Jean Francois Merieau Le Bois Jacou Gamay 2009 (Touraine)
Gorgeous waxy, floral nose and palate with ripe, fresh-picked red berry fruits, bright pomegranate fruit and pomegranate pith. Good backbone. Very good.
Jean Francois Merieau Boa Le Rouge Gamay Vieilles Vigne 2006 (Touraine)
This spent 18 months in barrel and shows pronounced dried roses/pot pourri on nose and palate – a serious, intense Gamay. Very singular, with impressive length.
Domaine Beauséjour Cuvée Vincent Gamay Noir 2010 (Touraine)
A bright ‘n juicy quaffer with delicious white pepper and smoky bacon hints to its sweet red fruits.
Clos du Tue Boeuf Les Rouillons 2010 (Cheverny)
I’ve enjoyed a few bottles of the 09 vintage of this pretty, perfumed blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir this last year (see here) and the 2010 looks set to follow on seamlessly in its footsteps - lovely white pepper and floral lift to its elegant red fruits with a fine spine of tannin.
Domaine Roux Héritage 2010 (Châteaumeillant)
This blend of 60% Gamay and 40% Pinot Noir is hand harvested and low yields (29hl/ha) have resulted in a lovely intensity to its lifted, floral, red fruits. Delicious white pepper notes too.