Time to Sample some Gamay

In my last article, I talked about the virtues of Gamay.  This is a grape variety that never really gets the praise it deserves.  Yes, my anchor for it consists of unripe red fruit without tannin but to me, this is a positive.  For new red wine drinkers, this is a lovely grape to start with for an introduction.  Most people flock to a California Cabernet Sauvignon for their first red wine and can’t figure out how people drink it.  It’s too harsh, too big on the palate and just simply too strong for a beginner.

I would say there are two problems with Gamay:

  • How to locate it since most times its not labeled for the grape variety, and
  • Purchasing it in a clear bottle.

Label Issues.

The majority of Gamay grown in France comes from the Beaujolais region.  This region contains 35+ villages and 10 Cru areas.  Cru wines show distinction from the terroir and higher quality levels.  Here’s a great link giving you more details on the area and what to look for. 

Look for any of these Cru or Beaujolais as it tends to be the only red wine produced in this area.  For other areas around the world, it’s labeled as Gamay.

Clear Bottles

I’m going to get on a soap box here but bear with me.  Light breaks down wine.  End of story.  The question is how long is that wine exposed to light to cause the breakdown?

I’m no expert but I know that if any wine is properly stored, one of the concerns is to avoid light exposure.  Hence the use of dark rooms, cases, or low lighting in wine coolers.  This is why I have an issue with some producers selling their wine in clear bottles.  I do understand the marketing aspect.  Most Rose wines are packaged in clear bottles so you can see the color to interest you in purchasing.  Some Gamay producers still sell their wine the same way.  For an older vintage (over 3 years), I would always ask how long the bottle was stored on the shelf in light.  I’d also consume it quickly.

Remember Gamay has low tannins, low sugar levels and moderate alcohol.  These all affect the ageing potential of a wine.

Chateau de La Perriere Brouilly – 2020

I picked this one up at Total Wine on a recent visit for this article ( I love my work) and chilled it in my wine fridge.  I checked the temperature to serve it around 55 F, so it has a slight chill.  Warmer and the fruit becomes bitter.  Colder and the wine is muted and hidden.

Brian- is it Good?

You know I really do not like this question.  Why?  Simple…you do not have my taste buds and I do not have yours.  What I like you may not like and vice versa.  However that being said, I love this wine since it shows what Gamay can bring to the table.

Most people have never tried a Gamay, so they are not sure what to expect.  All reds are full of tannin, right?  This is such a welcome change to drink as you can relax to this.

Let’s look at this wine.  Low tannins, great fruit that jumps out of the glass and says drink me and great refreshing acidity served chilled.  On a patio?  Heck yes.

All I could think about is what to pair this with:

  • Berry shortcakes,
  • Cherries, berries, and cream,
  • Charcuterie (such as salumi, prosciutto, Coppa),
  • Grilled shrimp or chicken with a berry BBQ sauce,
  • Farro salad with some poached salmon, and
  • Cherry bratwurst (go to Horrocks – trust me).

Just a simple delight to enjoy.  The wine’s personality screams ‘I’m going to give you a fruit hug on your palate.’


  • Right out of the bottle, it showed lovely red and black cherry notes along with red berries (Strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  • This is simply big fruit as a friend of mine used to say with a hint of oak on the nose.


  • This wine is filled with juicy dark cherry and berry fruit. Please note that they are unripe but deep in intensity.
  • I loved the subtle note of oak expanding food options.

Sweetness – It’s between dry and off dry.  It has just enough residual sugar to remove bitter notes.

Acidity – It shows great acidity between medium and medium plus.

Tannins – The wine shows the typical Gamay low grape tannins and hint of oak tannin.

Mouthfeel – I love its creamy texture that’s smooth with no sediment.

Body – I was pleasantly surprised that the wine had good structure and a medium body/weight to it.  This is positive as it expands what foods you can pair.


My opinion – This is one that I will pick up another bottle on my next visit.  Some may consider this a bit pricey at $22.  For me, it’s worth drinking a wine of this quality either to sip on or pair with food.

Final Thoughts

Gamay is something that if you have never tried it, now is the time to enjoy it.  Summertime with chilled wine is a perfect match.  Add fresh berries and lighter fare and this is a great variety to pair with.  They are hard to find but worth the search.  The reward is great.  Plus think of the fun with the experience of trying something new.  That is what life is about.

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