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The Just Ripe: Big Head Gamay Noir

Every year is the same. As the days become long, and the heat gets to be overwhelming, wine drinkers become completely obsessive over rosés and other “cool me down” wines like Pinot Gris and drier Rieslings. I really dont think this sort of behaviour is uncalled for, I totally get it. Its fricken HOT out and we all want to cool down. What I don’t understand is why everyone, all of a sudden, becomes so aloof to the idea of drinking Reds while temperatures are high. I don’t know when it happened, but it was definitely before my time; white wines were always served cold and reds at sort of room temperature… an even worse kind of warm, gross.

So, this summer, while everyone else is filling up their instagram feed with #roséallday, I’ll be stocking my fridge with red. Let’s get this straight, I am not talking about those Red wines that make you feel like you have one of your Grandmothers’ hand knit sweaters in your mouth. I would actually recommend to stay away from chilling a big bold red like Cab Sauv, Merlot, Malbec and similar varieties… and stick with those of the lighter affair. Chill the reds that you can almost see through. The ones that are crisp with super bright acidity and flavours that are fruit driven, because no one wants to drink a cold cigar box filled with fennel.

One of my local favorites right now conveniently comes from the winery where I work. There are other great light reds out there but today I just want to tell you about the brand new, never been made before, 2018 Gamay Noir from Big Head Winery. It is a fun light red with a vibrant colour that falls in a very ripe strawberry red shade. It is basically a glass full of liquid sour cherry blasters. It has an aroma of tart cherries that really takes over, and, a small hint of what smells like cool summer rain falling on hot gravel stones… all in all it’s one super aromatic bomb!

There is no problem finding the aroma on this wine, as it packs a full on fistful right to the nose. It’s earthy and extremely fruity, but what more could you ask for from a Gamay. This wine was made in a whole cluster fermentation and spent its first 10 days of maceration (which is the time the juice spends with skins collecting all of its colour and flavour) in something called “carbonic maceration”.

Carbonic maceration is like the ‘pop music’ version of fermentation. It creates juicy, fun and totally vibrant wines that are just so damn delicious but you can’t quite put your finger on. It basically follows a simple formula of taking whole clusters of grapes with the berries and stems still intact. You put all of the fruit into the tank and fill it with Co2 before sealing the tank so that the fruit starts to ferment in an environment where there is zero oxygen. This type of fermentation leads to much more pungent and exciting aromas.

It tastes like a party in a glass. It’s a perfect balance of tangy and tart, and when chilled to the perfect temperature, it is beyond quaffable. It is fresh and dry with flavours of sour cherries, raspberries and a bit of licorice. It has such a bright acidity that will keep you refreshed all summer long.

So, next time your sprawled out poolside soaking up the steamy summer rays get yourself a bottle of Gamay to chill it and chug it. Happy Summer!

Wine: 2018 Gamay Noir
Winery: Big Head Winery
Cost: $25
Address: 304 Hunter Rd NOTL

Written by Lindsay Schwenker

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