Matthew's World of Wine and Drink

About Matthew's World of Wine and Drink.

This blog began as a record of taking the WSET Diploma, during which I studied and explored wines and spirits made all around the world. Having passed the Diploma and become a WSET Certified Educator, the blog has become much more: a continual outlet for my passion for the culture of wine, spirits, and beer.

I aim to educate in an informal, enlightening, and engaging manner. As well as maintaining this blog to track my latest enthusiasms, I provide educational tastings for restaurants and for private groups. Details can be found on the website, and collaborations are welcome.

Wine is my primary interest and area of expertise and this blog aims to immerse the reader in the history of wine, to understand why wine tastes like it does, and to explore all the latest news. At the same time, beer and spirits will never be ignored. 

For the drinker, whether casual or professional, today is a good time to be alive.

Jean-François Mérieau "Le Bois Jaceau" 2016

Jean-François Mérieau "Le Bois Jaceau" 2016

There are few grape varieties more misunderstood than Gamay. Its bad reputation comes from the way people have used it more than its own faults: planted on the wrong soils in Burgundy; sold as Beaujolais Nouveau as barely fermented grape juice; branded as Napa Gamay in California in the 1970s when the grapes inside the bottle had no connection with Gamay itself. It does need careful handling - in particular, yields need to be kept down - but in the right hands Gamay produces truly outstanding wine. 

I’ve tasted some fantastic Gamay recently, and not just from Beaujolais. Californians are finally making genuine and very good Gamay and there’s some high-quality Gamay coming from Côte Roannaise, a southerly Loire region which is adjacent to Beaujolais. In fact, the Loire Valley is perhaps the most exciting non-Beaujolais place for Gamay right now. 

This Gamay from Jean-François Mérieau has been the stand-out of all the Gamays I’ve recently tried. It’s very much a Loire red, so don’t expect overly ripe fruits. Instead, it’s slightly green in an intense, integrated way - if you like whole-cluster fermented Pinot, this wine will appeal. There’s some earth and game, but what really makes this wine is the subtle, mouth-coating grainy structure. There are wines over $50 that don’t come close to matching its concentration and depth. Mérieau also does a very intriguing Malbec (or Côt as it’s often called in the Loire), but this wine demonstrates why Gamay thrives in an edgy climate.

Price: $19

Vintage: 2016

Grape Variety: 100% Gamay

Alcohol: 12.5%

Region: Touraine, Loire

Ageing: Stainless steel

Rating: ✪✪✪✪✪

Drink: now-2022

Food pairing: chicken; rabbit; lamb; pasta

Conceito Bastardo 2017

Conceito Bastardo 2017

La Barroche "Liberty" Vin de France 2015

La Barroche "Liberty" Vin de France 2015