Gamay is a grape associated with Beaujolais, but delicious gamay wines also come from the Loire Valley, such as the 2009 Domaine de la Charmoise Gamay de Touraine.

The Loire Valley is picture-postcard France: Rolling hills with family farms and grazing goats and sheep, vineyards sloping to the edge of country roads leading to quaint villages nestled along river banks and beautiful centuries-old chateaux catching the eyes of envy-filled travelers. In this picturesque world are talented winemakers like Henri Marionnet, owner of Domaine de la Charmoise.

The estate is in the Touraine appellation, named for the city of Tours. Most of the gamay vines at Domaine de la Charmoise were planted between 1967 and 1978. Now in their most productive years, Marionnet treats the vines with a minimum of chemical intervention and applies the same philosophy in his winemaking.

Marionnet made the 2009 Domaine de la Charmoise Gamay de Touraine using carbonic maceration, a technique that is particularly suited to the gamay grape. He placed bunches of whole grapes into a tank filled with carbon dioxide, and the carbonic gas, along with natural yeasts on the grape’s skin, started fermentation within each berry.

The process yields an aromatic, fruit-flavored, supple wine with a translucent red color and a pronounced cherry and herbal aroma. Its medium-body carries a very appealing mix of black cherry and blueberry flavors with a nice, dry mineral finish.

Beaujolais is a light-bodied, fruity wine. The 2009 Domaine de la Charmoise Gamay de Touraine has more complexity while offering gamay’s immediate accessibility. Considering the reasonable price, the result is an ideal wine for everyday enjoyment and parties.

Try a glass of the 2009 Domaine de la Charmoise Gamay de Touraine with your favorite pizza, eggplant Parmesan, or country-styled pate.

The 2009 Domaine de la Charmoise Gamay de Touraine retails for approximately $14.