In 1395 the Duke of Burgundy—aka Philip the Bold—decreed that gamay was harmful and contrary to proper Burgundian practices. Thank goodness the French and the rest of us have long ignored this foolishness. I have always enjoyed a bottle of slightly chilled, fruity, and fragrant Beaujolais made from the gamay grape—the perfect match for roasted chicken. A glance at any wine display might convince you that Georges Duboeuf, with his ubiquitous floral-design bottlings, has a lock on this wine, but look further for other producers and you’ll find a variety of subtle pleasures. (I’m not speaking here of the bouncy, overhyped Beaujolais Nouveau released every November, but of more substantial wines with a bit of age.) Some of my favorites include the 2003 Domaine des Gatilles Chiroubles ($11), the 2004 Jacky Janodet Graves Beaujolais-Villages ($10), and the 2004 Louis Latour Beaujolais-Villages Chameroy ($9). If you’re feeling really saucy, hunt down a gamay from the Loire Valley, such as the bright and complex 2004 Clos Roche Blanche Touraine ($11) made from organically grown grapes.
–D. R. W.