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Gamay - St Laurent

Gamay - St Laurent

Gamay is such an exciting grape and has superb food-matching abilities which few other reds can match.

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

With its somewhat low yield, the variety is considered difficult in the vineyard and was not always appreciated. It needs good sites with deep soils. It is sensitive during the flowering period and sensitive to late frost. It brings inconsistent yields.

Like many other grape varieties, the facts behind its origins are not easily confirmed. One theory suggests that cuttings were offered by a grape collector called Saint-Laurent du Var while another that it comes from Alsace, where it was known as Schwarzer. Although it shares its name with a number of French villages, there is nothing to suggest that they had anything to do with the naming of this grape. Most likely is the idea mentioned above that it was named after the patron saint of chefs, whose patronal festival coincides with the traditional day on which the berries change colour. It is one of the first grapes planted at the monastery of Klosterneuburg in their experimental vineyard in 1863.

If you are a fan of Zweigelt, remember that in 1922 Fritz Zweigelt combined the Sankt Laurent grape with Blaüfrankisch to create Zweigelt. It is a very good parent indeed.

It is not however closely related to Pinot. Sankt Laurent is not the same as Pinot Saint-Laurent. Although Sankt Laurent is not Pinot Noir, any more than Carménère is Merlot, there are some similarities to be found. If you like a meatier, gamier Pinot Noir, try this – you will not be disappointed!

ophisticated wine with a lingering finish that continues to delight for ages. It pairs well with most food, especially meats and as many commentators advise, those foods which you shouldn’t really eat like barbeques, cheese and anything fatty.

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