Home > California, Daily Glass, Gamay > Daily Glass: California Gamay? How about it!

Daily Glass: California Gamay? How about it!

The process of selecting of the bottle to open sometimes can be very daunting – may be this? But I just had it few days ago. Than that? Well, today is not special enough day? Then what about that one? Nope, doesn’t feel right. In the end of the day (not literally), you just bite the bullet and say “this is it”. So the end result of my nerve wrecking selection process today was a bottle of … California Gamay from Field Recordings.

Now, class, who had the opportunity to taste California Gamay – raise your hands. Yep, I thought so. It is not that often that you hear about California Gamay. It is not even too often that you hear about Gamay been grown anywhere in US. Beaujolais? Of course, Gamay is one and only. Loire? Sure, also quite popular. Switzerland? Lesser known outside of Switzerland, but still – yes, it does quite well there. But California?

Field Recordings Gamay

Well, so as they say, there is a first time for everything. Today was my first time to taste the California Gamay. 2013 Field Recordings Gamay Noir Rancho Real Vineyard Santa Maria Valley, California (13.9% ABV, 100% Gamay Noir, 6 month in Neutral Puncheons, 50% carbonic, 50% destemmed, 140 cases, Bottled: 04.19.2014) – very interesting. The nose was reminiscent of the Beaujolais Nouveau, but with the fruit being more mature and restrained, not as grapey. Very delicious and pronounced, similar to all other Field Recordings wines I had so far. And the palate… The palate was puzzling. It had a lot of fresh, ripe raspberries, good acidity and good balance, but there was something else which took me a while to figure out. And then it came down to me – the wine was still coming together. It was very similar to the Chenin Blanc which I had directly from the tank at the winery. Fermentation or not (I’m not a winemaker, so I can’t tell you exactly what it is, I can only describe to the best of my abilities), but this wine still needed time. This is why I highlighted above the date when the wine was bottled – so I was having the wine which was bottled only a bit more than a month ago – and it was noticeable. The wine was not bad by all means – but it would be very interesting to know, how would it taste when it would finally come together as a whole. Note to self – for the young wines, try to read the labels before, not after. Anyway, it was an interesting experience, and I will have to go with Drinkability of 7+, as the wine was still pleasant. Oh yes, of course it was my one and only bottle.

Have you had California Gamay before, or any US Gamay for that matter? What do you think? Also, have you had the wine which wwas not done yet? Comment away and cheers!

  1. May 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Very interesting post! Yes, I have opened a few bottles of various wines, only to wish that I had left them in the cupboard (my version of a wine cellar!) for another year or so. Very difficult decision as some wines that I’ve tried (particularly whites) have actually tasted better when fresh and young! As for the Gamay, I’ve never tried this variety before. It sounds rather delicious! Very few American wines are imported to Australia so I think I might find it difficult to track down a US Gamay, but it’s nice to know that US winemakers are branching out into different grape varieties!

    • talkavino
      May 31, 2014 at 6:00 am

      Yes, this was the very first time I saw the US Gamay, so it is very rare even here. But otherwise, nowadays in California, Texas and Oregon you can find all kinds of grapes which I never thought of being used here – all sorts of lesser known Spanish and Italian varietals are making its way in US. Not widespread, but getting better known bit by bit.
      By the way, for all I know, you have one local white wine worth aging ( actually, rather requiring aging) – Semillon. What do you think of Hunter Valley Semillon?

  2. May 31, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Really great post Anatoli, I cannot raise my hand because I have never had a California or US Gamay for that matter French yes, may times and I thoroughly enjoy it, so much so that I could easily drink it on a weekly basis. It is good to know about the one featured, it’s funny but there are some West Coast wines that are accessible on the East Coast, this clearly must be since you found it.

    • talkavino
      May 31, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Thanks, Suzanne. Well, actually, this wine you will not be able to find on the east coast (most likely), especially considering 140 cases total production. I have a subscription with Field Recordings, and twice a year they send me their new wines, so this wine was in my spring shipment. I think you might enjoy their wines as well (all very reasonably priced). Take a look at their web site at http://fieldrecordingswine.com/wine-club/

      • May 31, 2014 at 8:13 am

        I thought that might be the case, I remember a previous post you spoke about Field Recordings and their wine club, I generally don’t subscribe to clubs but might make exception for this one. I have had wines that were given to me as gifts from the west coast and the wine is small production and not sent to the East Coast I was not disappointed and would love to get my hands on more.

  3. June 1, 2014 at 1:07 am

    There are a couple of wineries in Oregon that do Gamay. And one I know of in WA, using Oregon grapes. They have all been really good – I love the grape!

    • talkavino
      June 1, 2014 at 11:54 am

      I think Oregon is far ahead of everybody in terms of “unexpected” grapes. I have a bottle of Tempranillo from Oregon which I plan to give a try soon. And I’m glad you like Oregon Gamay, hopefully I will try that too one day 🙂

  4. June 1, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Ha! The answer to your question is most definitely no, haven’t tried California Gamay… yet, but I have received the very same bottle in the latest delivery from Field Recordings, so I look forward to giving it a shot after letting it rest for a while (and reading your post just reinforced my thought that giving it some time is the way to go!) Sorry to hear that your experience was a little bit hit and miss. Perhaps we can give my bottle a try together in a few months?

    • talkavino
      June 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Yes, my friend, don’t rush this one. And my was experience was not bad at all, it was simply unusual 🙂 And Victoria actually liked the wine as it was.

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