Gamay Hits the Table

I had the opportunity to dip into a few of Mt. Boucherie’s new releases the other day. The West Kelowna winery nestled on the west side of Okanagan Lake is known for their wide array of wines, made from standard grapes such as Chardonnay and Merlot, to offbeat varieties like Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt. The first one I gravitated to was their Gamay, one of my all-time favourite grape varieties because of its light and bright elegance, and a complexity that’s there for anyone looking. I love the French Beaujolais versions, full of raspberry, floral charm and elements of gravelly, granite and limestone soil. Those funkier versions from the Loire Valley, with a little more intensity in their red fruit, zippy tartness and maybe a lick of leather? I adore ‘em.

Outside of France, we really don’t see too many wines fully made from Gamay until we step back into our own Canadian backyard. Here in British Columbia, Blue Mountain Vineyards out of Okanagan Falls has to at least be partly responsible for the variety catching on around the home front; their concentrated, spicy take on the grape has been a cult-favourite for a couple decades now.

But back to Mt. Boucherie, whose wines are made from 100 per cent, estate-grown grapes from their vineyards in West Kelowna, Okanagan Falls and the rugged, limestone-rich hills of the Similkameen Valley. It’s the Similkameen Valley where their 2012 Gamay hails from, and this is truly a wine that speaks to the region. The nose is all red plums, cherries and a wee rub of sage. On the palate it’s soft and juicy, but jazzed up by vibrant acidity and a good lashing of those gravelly soils. A little candy apple sweetened things up on the palate just a tad, but then a swirl of cinnamon and pepper touches down, only to be lifted away again by a lift of basil on the finish. Fascinating stuff, balanced perfectly between sweet and savoury.

So where do we go, food-wise? I looked around for something that echoed those sweet and savoury notes, perhaps adding a dash of umami. Over at Chatelaine, there’s a recipe for Miso-maple pork tenderloin skewers that should jive along well. The salty/juicy goodness of the pork, muddled by the complexity of miso, and then kissed by sweet maple along with some spicy ginger should be lapped up by Mt. Boucherie’s juicy, quaffable red pretty darn well.

Oh, and do me a favour! Make sure you chill down this Gamay, and any Gamay really, just a tiny bit before serving. It’ll be a good move to ensure the wine’s structure shows well and all of that fruit really sings. You have my word that it’ll hit the spot, especially on these long, summer days.

Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.

Let us know what you think!
Back to Top