This delicious Alpine red comes from close to the source of the Rhône river, but has more in common with Burgundy than, say, Crozes-Hermitage. Made with Pinot Noir and 40% Gamay, it’s a Swiss version of a Bourgogne Passetoutgrains, using fruit from some of the highest vineyards in Europe. Racy, juicy and lip-smackingly fresh, with red cherry and pomegranate flavours and fine-grained tannins.
Red Varietal: Gamay
2020 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, Beaujolais( £13.50, 14%, The Wine Society )
Given the prices of half-decent red Burgundy these days, it’s little wonder that people are looking for alternatives. This varietal Gamah is a superb Beaujolais from the Cru of Fleurie that massively over-delivers in the bottle. Spicy, juicy and lightly savoury, it has haunting balance, plenty of colour and intensity, sappy acidity and layers of dark cherry, raspberry. pomegranate and tobacco leaf. Intense, mouth-watering stuff.
2020 Tesco Beaujolais, 89, Beaujolais( £5, 12.5%, Tesco )
It’s increasingly tough to find drinkable, let alone enjoyable wines at £5 a bottle, but this own-label Gamay from Tesco and the Alliance des Vignerons de Beaujolais definitely qualifies. Juicy, supple and perfumed, with velvety tannins, raspberry and boiled sweet flavours and lots of tangy acidity. Just the thing for an end of summer picnic.
2020 La Madone Gamay Sur Volcan, Côtes du Forez, Massif Central( £12.95, 13%, The Wine Society )
I wish I’d known about someone like Gilles Bonnefoy when I lived in Clermont-Ferrand back in the 1980s, when good local wines were rare in the Massif Central. This is a wonderfully crunchy, sappy summer red grown on the volcanic soils that are a feature of the region. Made from Gamay, it’s a stony, unwooded delight, with plum and wild strawberry fruit and a satisfying, mineral-edged core.
2018 The Society's Exhibition Moulin à Vent, Beaujolais( £11.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )
Beaujolais Nouveau day may have passed you by last month – it certainly did me – but you don’t have to pay much more to get hold of something infinitely more serious from one of the region’s ten “crus”. Moulin à Vent tends to make some of the most structured examples of the Gamay grape, and that’s the case here. Spicy, peppery and refreshing, it has good structure and weight, succulent raspberry and red cherry fruit and just a hint of oak. A lip-smacking delight.
Misunderstood Winesby Chris Wilson
2013 Tesco Beaujolais Villages( £6.49, 12.5%, Tesco )
The older I get, the more I want to drink refreshing wines that don’t tire my palate, which may explain why I’m drinking more and more Beaujolais. This is Gamay and its gluggable, lip-smacking best, with juicy red berry and bramble fruit, bright acidity and supple tannins. Chill it before serving and see how versatile it is with food.
Bouchard Père et Fils Fleurie, Beaujolais( £10.99 down to £8.24, 12.5%, Waitrose )
Burgundian négociants such as Bouchard Père et Fils can be a great source of wines from neighbouring Beaujolais, too. This is mostly sourced from the Domaine du Château de Poncié and it’s a classically fruity, charming Fleurie, exhibiting fresh, juicy flavours of cherry, raspberry and pomegranate and a zesty finish.
Gaillac the Tortoiseby Matt Walls
2011 Waitrose Beaujolais( £6.99, 12.5%, Waitrose )
2011 turned out to be a very drinkable vintage in Beaujolais, just as it did in neighbouring Burgundy, and this own-lablel from teh Georges Duboeuf stable is a red-fruited thirstquencher with pithy acidity and notes of cherry and raspberry.
Try before you buy: the future of wine?by Natasha Hughes MW
2009 Domaine Lagneau, Régnié( £9.95, 13%, Stone, Vine & Sun )
These 2009 Beaujolais crus really are delicious, so if you are looking for a gluggable summer red to chill out with, this Régnié is the perfect candidate. It’s wonderfully bright and aromatic, with notes of raspberry and red cherry, good texture, lightweight tannins and old vine concentration, with sappy acidity and a refreshing finish. It should keep for a year or two, too.