A little fog has certainly never stopped us San Franciscans from getting in the summer groove. We are really good at denying the reality of our ‘summer’ and still gather outdoors despite the wind and cold to grill, picnic, and even head to our frigid beaches. So what can we drink to both celebrate summer and help stay warm? Gamay!
We’ve never been shy about showing our love for Gamay here at Bi-Rite, and we think summer is one of the best times to drink it. We’re not talking about the mass produced Beaujolais Noveau style that arrives every November and is often the only Gamay many people have ever drunk. No, we’re excited about the wide variety and elegant styles of Gamay available from many different wine-growing regions, light and drinkable on their own or versatile with food. If you’ve only ever had a Beaujolais Noveau, we strongly urge you to pick up one of these beautiful bottles of Gamay sometime very soon!
Edmunds St. John was started in 1985 by husband and wife team Steve Edmunds and Cornelia St. John. Their founding mission was to focus on creating wines in an old world style that truly expressed the character of a place. They have always purchased grapes from other sources and have helped to influence local growers into looking beyond the standard Cabernet and Merlot that has become so ubiquitous here in California. They’ve definitely championed the use of more Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache as well as Gamay Noir, the noble grape of Beaujolais. This Gamay, from the Sierra Foothills, has a lively nose of bright cherries with a bit of spice. Light to medium body, it has flavors of cherry and brambly woods.
Perfect Pairing: grilled eggplant stuffed with goat cheese
While typically found in the Beaujolais area of France, Gamay can now be found in the Loire Valley and has produced exciting wines from this region. Jérémy Quastana is a young producer who studied with Olivier Lemasson (who in turn studied with Marcel Lapierre, the renowned Beaujolais producer). Needless to say, there’s a lot of tradition and knowledge that’s been passed down to Jérémy, and his wines prove that fact. This Gamay is Jérémy’s first vintage from his small two hectare plot in Touraine; his 50 year old vines produce a wine that’s juicy and concentrated with red cherry and light earthy aromas. Those tart cherry flavors carry through on the palate along with rhubarb, fresh currants and a bright acidity.
Perfect Pairing: Moroccan spiced grilled chicken
Bruno Debize has been farming his small 5 hectare plot in Beaujolais biodynamically since 1999. In fact, he is certified biodynamic by Demeter International. Started in 1928, Demeter is now the largest certification organization for biodynamic farming. It is widely regarded as the highest grade of organic farming in the world, maintaining very strict standards and requiring annual inspections and renewal on the part of the farmers. How does this translate to the wine? Well, Bruno’s wines are made with great care and maintain a subtle elegance. This Gamay has light floral qualities and bright cherry and red berry aromas. In tasting, it has a little more depth with fresh red fruit flavors and a little bit of licorice and spice with a long finish.
Perfect Pairing: summer vegetable ratatouille or seared tuna with plum sauce