Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Looking for something different to drink? Try Loire Valley gamay.

Gamay, which has been grown in France since the 1300s, is a fascinating grape that produces lighter-style red wines in both Beaujolais and the Loire Valley. 

As gamay thrives in cold climates, it is also planted in Niagara and Prince Edward County in Canada, in Oregon and in cooler parts of Australia. 

The grape is one of the passions of leading British hotelier David Levin, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, 

The urbane owner of London's Capital and Levin hotels is also a vigneron with an organic vineyard in the Loire which he originally planted with sauvignon blanc, and more recently with gamay. 

He now produces no fewer than four styles of red wines made from the grape, which is leaf plucked, green harvested and handpicked, using organic principles in the vineyard and winery. 

"While in the Loire, sauvignon blanc usually takes top billing, our gamay is especially close to our hearts," Levin says. "We produce four expressions: our ‘village’ wine Le Vin de Levin Gamay, two ‘flagship’ wines, Levin Rosé and Levin Gamay and our premium cuvée Madame L Gamay. 

"While each wine is made quite differently, they’re all worlds apart from the 1980s Beaujolais Nouveau party," says Levin's wife, Lynne Levin. 

The pair say that they aim to make wines that pair wonderfully with food: intense, perfumed, supple wines with defined tannins and a spine of acidity to carry across a range of cuisines.

Having tried recent vintages of both the Le Vin de Levin and the Levin Gamay, I can confirm both are juicy, crunchy and delicious. 

See www.levinwines.com. And yes, the wines are available in Australia. 

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