Did you know there is such a thing as lighthearted red wine? In fact, there’s many, with Beaujolais being the original.
Beaujolais is produced from the Gamay grape and Ontario is just about the only other place on Earth growing Gamay. So I’d like to propose that we all go light ’n’ local for a week with Niagara Gamay. After all, summer is about lighthearted times, so why not accompany them with lighthearted wines?
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Should you happen to be a Beaujolais drinker, already I must warn you that local Gamay is quite different than its French cousins. It’s still light but there’s also a rustic, Italian feeling. Be prepared for slight bitterness and lots of gusto — local Gamay has a fondness for food and a suggestion of a second or third bottle. You’ve been warned!
Ch. des Charmes ’05 Gamay ‘Droit’ is certainly, rustic, tart and a bit wild — invigorating, earthy and screaming out for food. Take a break from nice wine and get down ’n’ dirty with this guy. ‘Droit’ is a clone of Gamay that seems to have more male hormones than the regular stuff. Lightly chill, and consider grilled sausages for your meal.
Henry of Pelham ’06 Gamay has some of the fun, playful nature of Beaujolais along with Italian briskness. It has a lovely perfume and is lively. It’s a great hot day refresher or partner for grilled salmon. Lightly chill this one, too.
Beware! If you’re an Aussie Shiraz drinker, you’ll probably hate these wines.
Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2007, a guide to the best wines at the LCBO, available in bookstores or through www.billysbestbottles.com. Sign up for his free wine e-letter at www.billysbestbottles.com.