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Will Gamay be the next star of New-Zealand wine?

Gamay has been grown in France for centuries, but some Kiwi winemakers believe it might be the next big thing in New Zealand. Read up on Gamay and its profile.

New Zealand is currently known for its Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Noir production, and according to Te Mata Estate director Nicholas Buck, it could very well become known for Gamay in the future.


GAMAY: A perfect fit for New-Zealand?

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Nick Buck, Te Mata Estate’s Winemaker, believes that the Gamay grape is well-suited for the New Zealand terroir & climate.

Kiwis wine lovers already have a crush on Pinot Noir, so Gamay’s appeal seems like a no-brainer.

Before Pinot Noir, there wasn’t really much of a market in New Zealand for light reds; the perception was that red wine should be black wine, 14 percent alcohol and pretty oakyPinot Noir introduced the concept that red wine didn’t have to be a blockbuster; that’s been a good thing for all NZ and has allowed an opening for a wine like Gamay.” states Mr Buck.

New Zealand’s wine market is currently dominated by Sauvignon Blanc. Indeed, Sav Blanc accounts for 84.5 percent of the country’s wine exports, with the remaining 15.5 percent shared by other varietals.

Currently, Gamay doesn’t even make the list of the top wines grown throughout the country. After Sav Blanc, the next most common grape varieties grown are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling and Pinot Gris.


Who will decide?

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Australia is New-Zealand’s biggest buyer of wines
, with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and China following suit.

So the introduction of Gamay into the New-Zealand market will depend not only on the tastes of Kiwis but also Australians, Americans, British, Canadian and Chinese wine drinkers.


What exactly is Gamay?

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Gamay came onto the scene in Burgundy
in the 14th century, when it began taking vineyard space away from Pinot Noir.

Since that time, winemakers in the region have learned that Gamay has higher yields and is easier to grow than Pinot Noir, which has caused its popularity to grow.

Gamay’s light profile makes it appropriate for cool regions such as France’s Beaujolais and Loire Valley and now New-Zealand.

As for its flavour profile, Gamay tends to be relatively light, though this depends on the strain of Gamay a winemaker chooses to grow.

The wines produced are naturally relatively high in acidity and can be light in both colour and tannin, which makes simple Gamays good drinks in their youth, and flattered by being served relatively cool.” MW Jancis Robinson stated.

Whether or not Gamay will catch on as a popular New-Zealand wine remains to be seen, but if you’re interested adding some Gamay to your wine collection, consider sampling Te Mata’s Gamay, any Beaujolais Gamay or even some drops from the Beechworth wine region.


Posted by The Vintec Club

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The Vintec Club is the private club for owners of Vintec and Transtherm wine cellars, and the ultimate online ressource for wine enthusiasts who wish to learn more about the arts of wine collecting, cellaring and serving.
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