This month, Richard Hem­ming takes a look at the Ga­may grape va­ri­ety

Living France - - Ala Maison -

In an English sum­mer, three things are cer­tain: it will rain dur­ing Wim­ble­don fort­night, kids con­stantly want ice cream and most adults switch from red to white wine. And yes, those things are prob­a­bly re­lated.

But red wine can be just as re­fresh­ing and thirstquench­ing as white wine in hot weather – es­pe­cially lighter styles. And as usual, France has the per­fect so­lu­tion to this vi­nous prob­lem.

Ga­may may not be a well-known grape va­ri­ety, but it’s the sole in­gre­di­ent of one of France’s most fa­mous reds – Beau­jo­lais-Vil­lages. This is the quin­tes­sen­tial light-bod­ied red, and as such it makes for an ideal sum­mer quaf­fer. In fact, it is one of the few red wines that you can drink lightly chilled.

This is be­cause it’s made to be low in tan­nin and rea­son­ably high in acid­ity – as with most white wines. Ga­may typ­i­cally has ripe black fruit flavours such as black­cur­rant or black cherry, of­ten with a bit of light spice and vi­o­let aroma.

Not all Ga­may is light and chill­able, how­ever. Re­cently, Beau­jo­lais has be­come in­creas­ingly fash­ion­able, thanks to a move­ment of am­bi­tious pro­duc­ers who are mak­ing heav­ier, more com­plex and more age-wor­thy reds. These tend to be from spe­cific vil­lages within the Beau­jo­lais-Vil­lages ap­pel­la­tion – for ex­am­ple, Fleurie, Mor­gon and Moulin-à-Vent.

A lit­tle Ga­may is also grown in the Loire too, but the ma­jor­ity of it re­sides in Beau­jo­lais. Here are some rec­om­men­da­tions to try, what­ever the weather!

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