Gamay Focus 29: B Kosuge Wines Gamay Noir 2015 Carneros, Napa, California

b kosuge gamay

I’m in the Napa Valley for a few days, and on my first morning here I found myself at Oxbow Public market for some Ritual coffee. I couldn’t help browsing the wine selection and coming away with an interesting-looking bottle.

It’s made by Byron Kosuge, who worked for 15 years at Carneros winery Saintsbury, leaving in 2001. He then did shorter stints at a few other wineries, before starting out on his own in 2004. He’d wanted to make Gamay for a while and couldn’t find any grapes available, but he did manage to get hold of some cuttings. One of his growers, Brian Shephard at ‘The Shop’ vineyard (a 3.5 acre vineyard in Carneros so named because it’s planted next to Brian’s vineyard supplies shop) agreed to graft over half an acre of 15 year old vines to Gamay because Byron committed to taking the grapes, and the result is this, the first vintage of his Gamay Noir. It’s really good.

B Kosuge Wines Gamay Noir 2015 Carneros, Napa, California
13.2% alcohol. This is compact yet nicely fruity, with sleek black cherry and raspberry fruit, and a smooth, fine-grained, soft tannic structure. It’s quite old world in style, showing moderately ripe fruit but also some stony savouriness. Finely textured with lovely balance, this is a very convincing Gamay that drinks nicely. I’m impressed. 92/100 (purchased at Oxbow, Napa, for $25)

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