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Gamay - Blauer Portugieser

Gamay - Blauer Portugieser

Gamay is such an exciting grape and has superb food-matching abilities which few other reds can match.
For most winemakers in Austria, Blauer Portugieser is a filler, grape, used in blends or for house wines. We don't buy these, we buy from people who give the grape the same attention as the more popular grapes and make delicious wines. Like a lot of "neglected" grapes, it is simply lack of attention in planting or winemaking that makes so many of the wines simple. Just like Swiss Chasselas, Blauer Portugieser vines give prolific yields and has low acidity. Just like Swiss Chasselas, Portugieser wines were meant to be drunk in their youth and considered not suited to long-term cellaring. And - no surprise here - just as Swiss Chasselas there's no reason they cannot age magnificently with proper winemaking, or make truly impressive wines. A medium ruby colour with a fruity, grape juice kind of nose. There are also some aromas of plum and red cherry. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with low tannins and with moderately low acidity. On the palate, it tastes of grape with some cherry and raspberry fruit. Very smooth.

Gamay is the perfect grape for matching with a traditional Christmas turkey dinner, with all its quintessential yet extraordinary varieties of flavour and textures from cranberry sauce to Brussels sprouts. Where other reds might just as well be water, Gamay maintains its consistency and flavour without overwhelming the flavours of the food.

France is, of course, the main grower of Gamay in the world. The bulk of their Gamay is grown in Beaujolais with some grown in the Loire valley. Far too many people in the UK dismiss Beaujolais out of hand, but if you are here you are probably not one of them. What pleasure they are missing, as the Beaujolais Crus regularly demonstrate. We have examples from every Cru and they are all worth exploring.

In Switzerland it is the second most grown grape behind Pinot Noir with which it is often blended, especially in Valais, to make the traditional Dôle blend or the less popular but equally interesting Goron blend. There are, of course, many single variety Gamay wines from Switzerland, both red and rosé. In Switzerland it reaches a complexity and ripeness that Loire or Beaujolais can rarely approach. The rosé is also fascinating as the Swiss are not as fond of high acidity as the French and so produce rosé wines which are far softer than their neighbours versions. The difference between Beaujolais Villages rosé, Anjou-Gamay rosé and Gamay de Satigny rosé has to be tasted to be believed. All are good examples of the grape but so different from each other. 

Historically, Gamay seems to have had a bad name which is evidenced in its first mention when, in 1395, orders were given to destroy all the vines of this grape as the wine was, apparently, causing serious disease! Subsequently there were banning orders for the planting of Gamay in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Luckily for us, it survived all these assassination attempts and lives on to produce some of the world’s finest wines.

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OUR WINES ARE CHOSEN PERSONALLY ONE BY ONE.

  • Each wine will bring something distinctive to your table.
  • Even the rarities are chosen for your drinking pleasure first.
  • From the winemakers they love most back in their home country.
  • You should feel safe discovering our wines so we guarantee them (see FAQs).
  • No constraint: No minimum order. Buy just what you want, whether a single bottle or thirty

Although popular for its generous harvests, the variety has poor disease resistance (mildew and grey rot are a particular concern) and requires careful maintenance in the vineyard to make good wine.

Despite the suggestion of the grape's name of having a Portuguese origin, ampelographers have uncovered little evidence to suggest that this is the case. It is often said that the Austrian, Johann von Fries, brought it from Oporto to his estates near Voslau in 1772. Until recently and for that reason, it was called Kékoportó in Hungary. There is evidence to indicate that by the 19th century, the grape was widely established in Austria and that it was then that cuttings were brought to Germany.

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