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Wine Spectator School

Class 4: Major Regional Varieties


Although they can both make some serious wines, Gamay and Grenache are responsible for some of France's fun, everyday reds.



Gamay is the variety used to make the red wines of Beaujolais, in eastern France at the southern end of Burgundy, where it is nearly the only grape grown.

It is a prolific vine that thrives in the region's better granite-based, sandy soils.


The Wine: Gamay is prized for its fruity, light and refreshing qualities.The purple-colored varietal is full of strawberry and red cherry flavors, with moderate acidity and light tannins.

Wines from a select group of villages, called Beaujolais-Villages, and the top villages, such as Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon, are more concentrated and can improve in the bottle for a few years.


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