Amity Vineyards2004 Gamay Noir, Anden Vineyards
Myron Redford has been passionate about the Gamay Noir grape ever since he realized that what was being made in the United States and called Gamay had nothing to do with the real stuff from France. This was also true of Pinot Blanc and a few other varieties, so in the late 1970s, working with Dr. Barney Watson at Oregon State University, the Oregon wine industry ordered various plant materials from France.
“When we learned that the Gamay Beaujolais that had come to UC Davis was really an upright clone of Pinot Noir, we knew we didn’t have a true Gamay variety here,” said Redford. “The Gamay Noir that came over here in 1800s seems to have vanished.”
After quarantine and various tests at Oregon State, in 1988, Redford was the first American to introduce real Gamay Noir. “I got a jump on the rest of the industry,” he said. “We had a warm spring in 1987, so I grafted 2½ acres of Gewurztraminer over to Gamay Noir, and we got our first wine in 1988.”
The Gamay Noir is utterly distinctive. Using carbonic maceration and no barrels for aging, the University’s tests showed that two of the five clones were worth releasing.
Amity’s version of Gamay Noir delivers a black cherry and distinctive black pepper aroma, with a soft-tannin entry, but with crisp acidity to allow this wine to work with a wide variety of foods. Redford is also considering the possibility of making a reserve wine from the Gamay Noir this year.
Reviewed July 24, 2006 by Dan Berger.
Dan Berger has been reviewing wine for 30 years, always seeking character related to varietal type and regional identity. He has never used numbers to rank wine and doesn’t plan to start any time soon. He believes that weight and concentration aren’t the only worthy aspects of wine and is especially smitten by cool-climate and food-friendly wines that offer distinctiveness.