Seminar DescriptionThe captivating wines of Beaujolais have inspired winemakers from all over the world, especially Oregon. (Re)discover the Gamay of Beaujolais to see what moved the winemakers to plant the grape in the Pacific Northwest.
While Beaujolais does produce a small amount of whites and rosés, the region is best known for its versatile, light to medium-bodied reds – all single-varietal and made of Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc – which account for 98% of all wines produced in the region.
Gamay Noir is a very old variety that existed in the 1300s in Burgundy, France. Gamay Noir is a crossing of Pinot Noir and an ancient grape called Gouais Blanc. Because of its relationship with Pinot, Gamay Noir has many similarities, including flavor profile and ability to age. Gamay Noir has a delicate bitter note on the finish that defines its unique flavor profile.
Producers in Beaujolais use a wine making method called Carbonic Maceration to retain Gamay’s delicate floral and fruit aromas and extract a rich ruby color. Each appellation within Beaujolais has a distinctly different expression of Gamay Noir.
There is now an International Gamay Competition, which was started by Beaujolais in 2010, to enhance awareness of this still underrated grape, yet well known in Oregon today.