Smashed cranberry, forest after rain, tart raspberry. Almost-ripe cherry, fresh lavender, juicy mulberry. Ground cardamom and white pepper, wild poppies and rose hip tea. Pure, tart, and lively berry fruit bursts with beautiful primary intensity, spilling farmstand strawberry, blueberry, and blood orange with unpretentious elegance. Violets appear and lead a waft of fragrant flower garden aromatics through evergreen, sage, and crispy forest air aided by a pleasant whiff of sweet tobacco. Lightly spiced, exuding just a dash of cumin that muddles cohesively with saline sandy earth and fine-grained soil. Clean, classic, and quite restrained without ever losing focus on temptingly pristine fruit. Medium in body with medium tannin and medium plus acidity. This 2017 Chehalem Mountains Gamay Noir by Ayres Vineyard is a beautifully balanced and wonderfully delicious wine from the Willamette Valley's other red grape.
Pinot Noir may be the king of Willamette Valley reds, but it by no means is the only red wine grape that thrives in the vineyards of Northwestern Oregon. This bottling, crafted by Ayres Vineyard using Gamay sourced from within the Chehalem Mountains sub-appellation of the Willamette Valley, proves that this humble grape from Beaujolais has exciting potential in one of America's most famous cool climate regions. While not quite as lifted or ethereal as Pinot Noir can be this wine is bursting with oodles of unique character and personality. It is exceedingly juicy and delicious maintaining exceptional balance while expressing complex notes of forest and earth throughout. Ayers treats their Gamay nearly exactly like their Pinot Noir during vinification and up until bottling, and they have managed to create an extremely impressive offering here.
Who makes your favorite Gamay?
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