A THRILLING LAST MINUTE DISCOVERY: OLD-VINE GAMAY FROM THE TOURAINE
With all the crazy clogging of the port issues the past few months, I was beginning to wonder if there would be enough French wine offloaded and distributed to fill my wee beloved section of the shop for what is our busiest time of the year. Champagne is still in danger of running super-low-to-out-of-stock until next year sometime, but there were a few of our smaller importers that were able to rescue some containers, the ones they had been waiting five months to get, and those reps were knocking down our front door trying to taste us on new products and vintages before Thanksgiving as we don’t take appointments in December.
It was on one of those last-minute appointments that we stumbled upon this beautifully expressive and mouth-watering Gamay from the Loire Valley.
The Roussely family started their winery in 1917 and is now in its fourth generation of family winemaking in Loire Valley’s Touraine region. Most of their vines are planted to the wildly popular Sauvignon Blanc, (which is how we learned of this winery; we stock their Sauvignon Blanc as well. In fact, it was up for an earlier Wine of the Month but the importer didn’t have enough stock, and was of course waiting for a container to be plucked out of the harbor. Don’t sleep on the Vincent Roussely L’Escale Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, it’s delicious and just $14.99.) But the Roussleys have a tiny parcel of old vine Gamay that is farmed all organically in gravely, clay and limestone soils.
Gamay is having quite the moment, people discovering how much they enjoy the freshness, no oak and energy of these lighter bodied red wines that taste even more refreshing with a little chill to them. It is a well-deserved moment, and the curious, “give me more like that" crowd has discovered that Gamay is not just the grape of Beaujolais. Since the Loire Valley is less “discovered” than Beaujolais, there are some wicked values to be found just like this offering from Vincent Roussely!
The word Canaille can be taken a couple of ways depending on context, but in essence it means rascal or rabble, and glugging back a wine this infinitely pleasurable, with this price tag, and an adorable label that also makes it perfect for gift giving and table placement on your holiday party arsenal of treats to share, well you are sort of feeling a little rascally for getting away with something.
Vincent puts this wine through semi-carbonic maceration, which is leaving some bunches whole, so instead of yeast reacting to juice, the grapes start fermenting within their skins which changes the tannic structure of the wine. Precisely why so many of us are wildly in love with the bouncy, super-fresh flavor and texture of Gamay.
Just popping the cork on this Gamay, you can smell fresh, exuberant fruit intermingled with flinty minerals and plummy notes. Light and so generous on the palate, with a finish that is lip-smacking and vibrant. You can simply sip on its own, yet because of the lightness and clean juicy fruit, I can think of little this wine could not go with.
Get those corkscrews at the ready and stock up, who knows when the next container will be here! Happy holiday everyone!