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2023 “Vin Chanmé” Gamay Noir

2023 “Vin Chanmé” Gamay Noir
Wine Club Member Price: $32.30
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/ 750ml Bottle

Opening with a blast of red fruit and berries, one can see why Gamay has such an intense following. Barely hiding behind the luscious initial is a layer of orange blossom and rose petal that draws us in more. This is a serious wine. On the palate the red fruit carries through with hints of white peppercorn and violets and the concentration is self-evident. With velvety soft tannins and balanced acidity, this wine is drinking great now, but our version is inspired after the more serious style of ‘Cru Beaujolais’, which produces a darker, fuller-bodied, more complex, and terroir-driven wine that will age gracefully for years.

In 2014, twin brothers, Mike and Doug Hengehold planted a ten-acre site on the western slopes of the Sonoma Valley to two clones of Pinot Noir. Or so they thought. One of the blocks just never did well. It ripened far later than the ‘healthy’ block. The berries were bigger, and it just didn’t seem right. Subsequently, the fruit was sold off to make sparkling wines at a much lower price than still Pinot Noir grapes. The brothers decided maybe the nursery that supplied the vines sent them diseased budwood. So, in September 2023 they had the block genetically tested and the results were startling. That five-acre block was Gamay Noir and not Pinot Noir. That would explain the larger berries and late ripening! Shortly thereafter we were connected to Mike and Doug, and we jumped at the chance to vinify some of this amazing discovery. Gamay is in very short supply in US and what seemed like a disaster is now a blessing.

In the style of French slang known as verlan, the word ‘chanmé’ means something surprisingly awesome—like the discovery of this block of Gamay.

In the common Beaujolais style, following a saignée (or bleeding of juice) to increase concentration, we started this ferment in the carbonic method, in the absence of oxygen and with indigenous yeast. Whole clusters of Gamay were moved into a tank, the tank was sealed and purged of oxygen by adding carbon dioxide, and then left to its own devices for eight days. Once we were sure fermentation had begun, the tank lid was opened and we started with a once daily pump-over to keep the cap wet until the juice was dry. We then pressed into a stainless-steel tank to settle before racking to a mix of neutral barrels and one new Hungarian barrel for five months of aging before bottling.

Casey Graybehl, Winemaker

Gamay Noir
Sonoma Valley
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
Cases Produced

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