It seems like everyone is talking about Beaujolais at the moment, especially following the hugely successful 2009 vintage, which threatens to put the region firmly back on the quality wine map. But it isn't just Beaujolais that makes good wine from Gamay, for it is quite widely planted in the rest of southern Burgundy, and most notably in the Maconnais, the most southerly appellation of the region. And in my humble opinion, Macon Gamay can be every bit as good as the wines from even the most exalted Beaujolais Crus - especially with bottle age. And this little beauty is a fine example of it's kind.
Domaine Guillot-Broux Beaumont 1996 Macon-Cruzille
It is a delightful "old" pale ruby/blood colour - clear and bright, but showing definite signs of amber/bricking at the edge. I've had a few bottles of this wine in the past couple of years, ranging from good to very good - always quirky, and occasionally a bit stinky, but this one is almost clean as a whistle. I say almost, because there is undeniably a hint of funky, barnyardy brett on the nose, but just enough to add interest and complexity to a wine that is still full of wild strawberry and red cherry fruit, with touches of cedar, spice and forest floor. A good wine will always age on it's acidity (and of course tannins) and this one still has bags of acidity, whilst any tannins that were there to begin with have resoveld nicely. Experienced palates might just identify this as Gamay, but I'd wager that the first suggestion of many would be Pinot Noir. It is often said that top-notch Gamay can develop Pinot characteristics with age, and this is a classic example of that phenomenon, for it really does have that elegance, minerality, delicate fruit and overall fleet of foot that a really good Bourgogne Rouge - or even village Burgundy - tends to show at this sort of age. It has so much juicy, sweet, elegant fruit - evolved, yes, but still beautifully poised and full of vitality. And oh, that acidity!
Incidentally, the bottle photo above was taken on my new HTC Desire HD. Strictly speaking, it is a mobile telephone but, as we all know, the concept of mobile 'phones has moved on a little, in recent years. And this little beauty just about has it all - or, at least, all that is available in phone technology thus far. It has an 8 megapixel camera with zoom and flash, video camera, music player, FM radio, wifi, bluetooth, GPS, word processing (with an excellent, user-friendly keyboard), games, apps....... the list goes on. Most importantly for me though, it has a perfectly formed mini Internet browser, which enables me to access the Internet (and therefore my web server) whilst on the road. Which means that I can access my emails and check for customer orders, without the need to be either sat at my home desktop PC or driving around searching for a wifi signal on my laptop. At just a shade over £30 per month, for a 2 year contract (including the hardware for "free") I consider it money well spent, for a piece of kit that will make my life so much easier and save me a lot of time into the bargain. In fact, as with the advent of the personal desktop computer and the laptop, I guess it won't be long before I'm asking myself how I ever coped without it!