Gamay Food to Wine Matches

While light gamays are perfect with pasta and fish, the darker varieties are better suited to fowl and game

The range of food possibilities with gamay is broad and depends greatly on whether you have a young, fresh and not particularly complex gamay, or sterner versions of the grape. The lighter fruitier stuff is good with pasta and not too bad with stronger flavoured fish like swordfish or tuna. The darker, deeper, more intense versions are great with fowl or light game – partridge and pheasant (with us only until February 1), squab, pigeon, guinea fowl or rabbit. The thing to remember is that gamay has quite a sweet edge to its fruit flavours, so you need to pair it with dishes that are on the savoury, even gamey side to get the best out of it. It’s also for that very reason, pretty good with rather powerful smoked foods, such as a nicely smoked mackerel fillet, or bradan rost (smoked and roasted salmon).


Cheat Sheet

In sheep’s clothing

The gamay beaujolais grape grown in many parts of Southern parts of California is not, in fact related to gamay at all but is a distant clone of pinot noir. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) in the USA has banned use of the name (in between launching assaults on Waco-like compounds) but it doesn’t stop some of the madder American winemakers from labelling their pinot noir as gamay beaujolais.

Getting territorial

Beaujolais is an integral part of Burgundy, not just a neighbour, occupying the most southerly district of the region, some 4oo kilometres from Paris. Its contrast to wines produced in the rest of the region comes down simply to the fact that gamay, rather than pinot, is the main grape used.

Count to ten

The crus of beaujolais are as follows: Brouilly, Chenas, Chiroubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-vent, St-Amour. Of these the best known are Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie and Moulin-a-Vent.

This article was published on 1st August 2011 so certain details may not be up to date.

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