These gamay wines differ from your typical Beaujolais

These light- to medium-bodied gamay reds are perfect for slowly cooling weather. Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Courtesy of Krista Slater

Credit: Courtesy of Krista Slater

These light- to medium-bodied gamay reds are perfect for slowly cooling weather. Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gamay is a French red grape that has a fairly singular reputation, based on one region.

It’s the other red grape of Burgundy, and is used to make the bubblegum-fruity Beaujolais nouveau wine at the center of many of our Thanksgiving tables.

While we adore the wines from this region, there is a joy in discovering a different perspective on something you think you know so well. For us, that is exploring a range of gamay wines from different parts of France. It doesn’t hurt that these light- to medium-bodied reds are perfect to pair with the slowly cooling weather of fall.

Domaine Saint-Cyr Mélo Vin de France. Full disclosure: Saint-Cyr is indeed a winery in the Beaujolais, and we very much enjoy the wines that are produced under that label. This is the first time we have had the chance to try Mélo, their Vin de France. In France, rules are fairly stringent for how a wine can be made and still be labeled with a specific appellation. A producer wishing to make a wine that veers from the requirements of their region often uses the label of Vin de France, which only requires that the grapes be grown in France. Mélo is an excellent example of the beauty that comes from creative freedom in winemaking. An equal-parts blend of gamay, pinot noir and chardonnay, this light, graceful wine benefits from being chilled slightly.

Domaine Sérol eclat de granite Côte Roannaise 2022. Côte Roannaise is a lesser-known appellation for wines made from gamay in the southern Loire region. Gamay grapes are not uncommon along the Loire, but this is a surprisingly deep, brooding version. Much of the intensity in the wine can be credited to the granitic soil (gamay loves granite) in this area, which some have dubbed the Loire Volcanique, because of the region’s proximity to Massif Central, the large mountain range that is home to the majority of French volcanoes. Also of note: This wine is made from gamay de Saint-Romain — a regional variation distinct from the variety grown in Beaujolais — which also contributes to its savory intensity. Sérol recently landed in Georgia, and the rosé and sparkling wines (also made from gamay) are worth seeking out.

Clusel-Roch Les Traboules Coteaux du Lyonnais 2020. Just south of Beaujolais, and to the west of Lyon, is the Coteaux du Lyonnais, a region that feels connected to Beaujolais and the northern Rhone, although the latter is where syrah-dominant reds are produced. Guillaume Clusel primarily farms in Côte-Rôtie, in the northern Rhone. This is our dream wine, expressing both the brooding earthiness of the northern Rhone region and the kicky aromatic fruit of gamay.

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