Monday, March 9, 2015

Noella Morantin Touraine Gamay

A few days ago I got together with friends for a terrific meal at a neighborhood Chinese restaurant. I brought a newly released Gamay from the Loire because no red goes better with Chinese (Cantonese in particular) cuisine than Gamay. Gamay's tartness and fruity sour cherry flavors go with practically any Chinese dish, including steamed fish! Yet, I have a weakness for pork so I ordered barbecue pork cheeks. The sweet tender slices were heavenly with the Gamay.

The particular Gamay I drank was Noella Morantin's 2013 Touraine Gamay "La Boudinerie", which was fitting since she made this as a vin de soif to go with cochonailles. "Boudinerie" is the name of the farm she rents where she has her cellar. Perhaps they used to make blood sausage there, too.

After years working at Domaine Les Bois Lucas, in 2009 she jumped on the opportunity to lease a good chunk of vineyards from nearby Clos Roche Blanche, which was downsizing and now totally retired. She is helped by Laurent Saillard, who used to operate a restaurant in New York, then decided to go back to France to work at Clos Roche Blanche, then at Noella Morantin's domaine. Laurent is also leasing vines from Clos Roche Blanche and has started to produce wines on his own.

Noella's Gamay is beautifully crafted. I'm not sure how old the Gamay vines are but they probably have some age since they were from Clos Roche Blanche. Noella does partial whole cluster fermentation--maybe 60%--and vinifies with natural yeasts and no additives. She adds minimal sulfites during the one racking but none at all afterwards even at bottling.

This 2013 Gamay has a fresh and wild expression, a rawness for sure, and an edge. It would be interesting to see how it ages, but for now I love its savage charm--goes well with the bbq pork.

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