Former Fugitive Finds Excellent Accommodations in Anjou
Back in the day of the 14th-century French dukes and their edicts, the Gamay grape managed to get itself kicked out of Burgundy—outlawed, actually— and relegated to Beaujolais. Despite Gamay’s checkered past and its least flattering modern incarnation as Beaujolais Nouveau, we ought not allow ourselves to be soured on the grape. There are simply many worthy examples of Gamay to explore and enjoy.
In the Loire Valley’s Anjou Noir region, Domaine Richou produces a 2009 Gamay that reveals a very charming and well-made version, capturing the benefits of a special terroir. While postcard visions of the Loire will focus on its picturesque châteaux and rolling hills, to a wine lover what matters most is the variety of magnificent soils ready to impart their unique stamp on the vineyards. The Anjou Noir’s slate, like schist soil, endows the Gamay, a normally fruity and lighter-style wine, with layers of appealing characteristics and textures.
Saturated purple color and an abundance of black-cherry and blueberry juiciness are supported with a mineral backbone and a rich mouthfeel. The Domaine Richou will surprise you with its clean, concentrated flavors. This Gamay will even make some demands of its own: namely, it wants to be accompanied by food. Enjoy the Domaine Richou with vegetarian dishes, grilled fish, poultry or even glazed pork.
Chemical fertilizers are not used at Domaine Richou, and harvests are done by hand. Hand harvests are not only gentler on the vines, they also yield a more evenly ripe harvest because workers can take several passes during the harvest period, picking solely the clusters whose sugar levels are optimum for wine making.
Available for US orders only at Fountainhead Wines, in Bedford Hills, New York,
(+1) 914-244-8973; retail price: $14.