Home > Beaujolais, France, Gamay, Grapes, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #82: Grape Trivia – Gamay

Weekly Wine Quiz #82: Grape Trivia – Gamay

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments
Gamay grapes Source: Wikipedia

Gamay grapes
Source: Wikipedia

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engines. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

We are continuing our grape trivia series, with the focus again on the red grapes, and today’s subject is Gamay, also called Gamay Noir, and fully officially a Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc.

Gamay is a purple-skinned grape, taking its name from the village of Gamay, located south of Beaune in France. Gamay is considered to be a cross between Pinot Noir and ancient white grape called Gouais Blanc. First mentions of Gamay go all the way back to the 14th century, so it had being around for a while.

Gamay grapes have thin skin, and have a tendency to overproduce, creating the grapes with very high level of acidity and low sugar, which often results in the production of lightly colored and quite acidic wines. The overproduction and high acidity were the reasons for the Gamay being literally outlawed and pushed out of Burgundy by the royal rulers at the end of 14th century, to give way for much rounder Pinot Noir. As the result, Gamay mostly settled in Beaujolais area, where it became the major red grape variety. Gamay is used in Beaujolais to produce a wide range of wines, starting from the famous Beaujolais Nouveau, the wine produced within 6 weeks of the harvest – young, grape-y and quaffable, but usually not very exciting; and then going to the Cru Beaujolais ( there are 10 villages in Beaujolais, which have this status), which can be dense, concentrated and age-worthy.

In addition to Beaujolais, Gamay is also growing in Loire region, where it is often blended with other local grapes such as Cabernet Franc and Cot ( Malbec) and it is used to produce both red and Rosé wines. The Rosé from Loire are typically a lot fruitier than the ones from Provence. Gamay is also successfully grown in Switzerland, especially in the area around lake Geneva – it is often blended with Pinot Noir there. Outside of France, Gamay is planted in the number of regions, such as United States and Italy, but it doesn’t produce much of the well known wines. Interestingly enough, a world renowned wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, was raving about Gamay wines produced by Sorrenberg of Beechworth in north east Victoria, Australia  – she mentioned that it might be “one of the most exciting Gamays I have ever tasted”.

And now, to the quiz!

Q1: Gamay is closely associated with every third Thursday in November. Can you explain why?

Q2: Carbonic maceration is an important method in production of wines made out of Gamay. Can you briefly explain what is carbonic maceration and how does it helps here?

Q3: Fill in the blanks: In Beaujolais, Fleuri is considered to produce the most ___ wine, and Moulin-à-Vent produces the most ___ wines.

Q4: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Brouilly

b. Côte de Brouilly

c. Côte Chalonnaise

d. Juliénas

e. Régnié

Q5: True or False: Beaujolais Nouveau wines can be aged for a few years before consumption.

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!

  1. November 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

    1. Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!
    2. The process used to make Beaujolais Nouveau—the grapes undergo fermentation before being crushed resulting in a fruitier, less tannic wine. Carbon dioxide is often pumped in so as to limit the effects of oxygen.
    3. Not an easy answer here but I will go with feminine and masculine.
    4. Côte Chalonnaise is not part of the Beaujolais (although very near) and produces Pinot Noir instead of Gamay.
    5. False. Although you could “age” it it would be a mistake. Only ever drink Nouveau that is from the current calendar year (even waiting a couple months into the following year is not always wise).

    • talkavino
      November 16, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Excellent work by the master himself! My answers are coming on Wednesday.

  2. November 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Ugh – trouble with phone. Sorry if this is repeated. Google- free as always
    1 – release date of Beaujolais nouveau
    2 – fermentation in a tank w CO2. Ferments juice in the grape. Faster and less tannic
    3 Fleuri is delicate, MAV is powerful
    4 Regnie because it’s easiest to type on my phone
    5 sure, nouveau can be aged. It just won’t be any good.

    • talkavino
      November 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Thanks for playing! Great work!

  3. November 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Very jealous of Jancis. I’ll probably never see Aussi Gamay.

    Q1 Thanks to Georges DuBoeuf, Beaujolais Nouveau nailed that as a release date to capitalize on a local ritual in nearby towns, which gave Beaujolais producers enough time to carbonic macerate, bottle, and ship their Nouveau. Thursday was chosen in 1985 because it was close to the weekend (party!). The Brits even road trip to Beaujolais for that release. Oddly, the Japanese release Nouveau before this date.

    Q2 CM is a fermentation that occurs within each un-crushed grape in a closed, Co2 rich, tank. It helps release Beaujolais Nouveau because it is faster than yeast-innoculated, aerobic fermentation, and extracts fewer tannins thus not requiring aging.

    Q3 Floral…Tannic

    Q4 c. Côte Chalonnaise…because it’s in Burgundy and not part of Beaujolais

    Q5 False (although they “can” be aged, one shouldn’t =)

    • talkavino
      November 16, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Excellent work!

  4. November 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    1. Beaujolais is released every third Thursday in November.
    2. It’s a type of fermentation in a tank with added CO2. This process is much faster and results in pretty fruity wines. I think Italian Novello is produced the same way.
    3. In Beaujolais, Fleuri is considered to produce the most widely exported wine, and Moulin-à-Vent produces the most long-lasting wines.
    4. Côte Chalonnaise. It’s not part of Beaujolais.
    5. False.

    Fun quiz!

    • talkavino
      November 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Excellent work, Julian! My answers are coming on Wednesday.

      • November 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

        Thank you, Anatoli.
        I would like to change my answer for #5 to True. I just red on Wikipedia (yes I know it’s not a perfectly reliable source) that Beaujolais Nouveau can age for a few years but that there is no real point in doing so because the wine doesn’t improve with age.

        • talkavino
          November 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

          Hmmm, I would think about it. There is only one reason to age wine – it is to enhance and evolve its pleasure…

  5. November 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    wow, I didn’t know Gamay was this popular 🙂
    1. It’s when the first production of Beaujolais wine after the harvest, Beaujolais Nouveau, is released every year. It’s a marketing gimmick.

    2. Carbonic maceration used in Beaujolais is not strickly speaking the original carbonic maceration where CO2 is flushed into a thank before grapes are placed for fermentation. However, it’s still a method of carbonic maceration and the whole bunches of grapes are placed in a tank and the grapes at the bottom are crushed by the weight of the grapes, releasing natural CO2. This slowly pushes down the grapes and fermentation takes place before yeast fermentation.
    It helps to produce less tannic wine with very fruity and aromatic wine from tannic and acidic Gamay grape.

    3.floral / robust or full-bodied

    4.Côte Chalonnaise – it’s a part of Burgundy

    5. well…it’s meant to be FALSE.

    • talkavino
      November 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks for playing, Namie! Great answers, as usual!

  6. November 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    1. The release date for Beaujolais Nouveau
    2. The forced addition of CO2 to grape tanks.
    3. Moulin-à-Vent; strong poweful worthy of aging. Fleuri; fruitier, more delicate can also age well.
    4. Chalonnaise is in a different area.
    5. Could be a trick question but believe it to be NO! Drink ASAP 🙂

    thank you.

    • talkavino
      November 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks for playing, great answers!

  7. November 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I only know 1&5 and I’ll spare you my guesses.

    • talkavino
      November 19, 2013 at 12:04 am

      there is nothing wrong with guessing : )

  1. November 20, 2013 at 10:41 am
  2. November 30, 2013 at 9:04 am
  3. June 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

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