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Andrew Rich Wines

Andrew Rich Wines 2020 Gamay

Bringing the Rhône to Oregon

When professional athletes are washed up, they wind up on ESPN talking about their sport. For Andrew Rich, his path to winemaker went the other way – he was the well-respected editor of a wine column for a national magazine when he decided to give it all up and enroll in a winemaking school in Burgundy. Before long, he was in love with the wines of the Rhône valley just to the south – Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Viognier, and the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape blends.

Back in the US, Andrew landed a job with quirky California winery Bonny Doon – also famed for its Rhône-style varietals. After five years, looking to start his own label, he accepted an invitation from an Oregonian who was at that same French wine school.

In Oregon, Andrew discovered something extraordinary – not only is the Willamette Valley a great winemaking region, it was also within a three-hour drive to Rhône varietals in the Columbia Valley.

Before long, Andrew was making a name for himself – as the first in the Willamette Valley to bring in Grenache and those Rhône grapes. Two decades later, he’s a star in the Oregon wine world.

Andrew Rich Wines

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Andrew Rich Wines, Carlton, Oregon
2020 Gamay

Ah Gamay Noir, arguably the more popular little sister of Pinot Noir. Similar in body and style, Gamay is a little fruitier than Pinot Noir, more like the happier, cheerier sibling to Oregon’s classic varietal. (Doesn’t ring a bell? In France, they call Gamay Noir “Beaujolais”, much as they call Pinot Noir “Burgundy”.)

Andrew Rich still adheres to the old-school winemaking techniques that he learned in France – whole clusters of grapes, no additives, and leaving wine to age for 18-20 months in mostly neutral barrels. This is original, European style winemaking at its best. Asked what new techniques he was experimenting with, he answered: “New techniques? Pfft.”

You’ll get big hits of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and red currant in this Gamay. With a nice thread of acidity, this bright and lively wine is perfect with roasted vegetables and chicken. And for a more adventurous pairing, try slightly chilling the wine and eating with spicy foods like chili or Asian cuisine.

A Cellar 503 selection in March 2022, New World Wines Old World Style Willamette Valley | Gamay Noir