The first big impression is the scent of black pepper—a characteristic of cooler years, followed by aromas of cloves from time spent in oak. Notes of ripe strawberry and raspberry with a classic gamay earthiness underneath meet pleasing acid on the palate, ending in a mouth watering finish.
Here in Michigan, we grow grapes on the edge of a continental climate with maritime protection from our bordering bays and from Lake Michigan. We let the wine speak to the vintage to express the idiosyncrasies of Gamay and of our unique Northern Michigan terroir. Gamay Noir is the traditional variety of French Beaujolais wine, where it makes everything from light and easy nouveau styles to beautifully complex medium bodied examples. The first Gamay Noir grapes in our region were planted by Winemaker Sean O’Keefe’s father in the late 1980’s and the variety has since become a signature grape for Old Mission Peninsula. 2020 allowed us to continue this push towards establishing our regionally stylistic identity.
The Gamay was harvested from Jamieson Vineyard in two batches on October 26th and 29th, 2020. The year was warmer overall than the unseasonably cool 2019 vintage, but it wasn’t a scorcher. Fall was very cool and wet so we picked later, leaving the grapes on the vine longer to develop more flavor and complexity. Sean began fermenting the 26th batch, stems removed but left whole berry, in stainless steel red wine fermenters. The grapes sat under a CO2 dry ice blanket for three days— crushing the grapes at the bottom of the tank and resulting in a partial carbonic maceration to help build aromas and break down acidity, as we began pumpovers and primary fermentation. Another, slightly riper, harvest three days later had hand punch downs with a longer skin contact period to get more tannic extraction for structure, otherwise treatment was the same. The grapes all went into older oak demi muids where they spent the next six months unracked, on their lees, and undergoing malolactic fermentation. The two batches were blended together just before bottling in early June 2021.
The juicy, fruity nature of this Gamay is the perfect partner for a thin crust goat cheese pizza, mushroom risotto, or squash with cranberries. Gamay Noir is very food friendly, making this a wonderful addition to your summer barbeque!
This Gamay Noir is young but drinking beautifully already. Watch it evolve and mature with aging now through 2026.