Edmunds St John “Bone Jolly” / El Dorado County, California 2018
Gamay Noir au Jus Blanc
GRAPE: GAMAY NOIR
A burgundy baby born of Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir has been talked about (and bad mouthed) since the 14th century. It was kicked out of its homeland (Northern Burgundy) in the 1700s but found its home just to the South in the rolling granitic hills of Beaujolais (and a bit here and there in the Loire, Savoie and other Alpine refuges…) It still suffers from the stigma of the mass-produced early-drinkin’ easy-swillin’ Beaujolais Nouveau, but the love of Gamay has persisted and finally found a bold and enamored audience in France – and now in the New World of Oregon and California.
GROWER: The OG underground artist, Steve Edmunds is a hippie with a hint of hipster, an urban winemaker with terroir on the mind, dirt on his boots and (literally) a song in his heart. Steve has been producing his brand of “wine-for-winemakers” for 34 years, starting out in Berkeley in 1985 with his wife, Cornelia St. John, with a clear vision of soulful wines spun from California soils. He’s never had employees, land, or a physical winery of his own, and yet he has maintained a justified place of reverence amongst the wine industry for over 3 decades due to his soft-spoken and pure approach to winemaking. His buddy Kermit Lynch poured Edmunds’ 1986 Mourvèdre for the head of Domaine Tempier himself, who allegedly exclaimed, “la terre parle” – “the earth speaks.” No further endorsement needed here.
Steve’s close kinship with (fellow musician) Kermit Lynch was also a catalyst to get the first planting of bona-fide Gamay in California in 2000. Steve followed the wisdom of Beaujolais and looked to the Sierra mountains for that pink granite rich in quartzite, and that high elevation to help Gamay ripen early for more pep in its step. Thanks to his insightful efforts, there is a new wave of Gamay splashing across California, and Steve can boast 17 vintages of Bone-Jolly under his belt. In 2018 the grapes were destemmed and the wine was aged in stainless steel before an early winter bottling in February. We will keep dancing to Steve’s jolly-good renditions of a few of our favorite varieties!
GLASS: Oh you pale, bright and gorgeous Gamay. Pink grapefruit and pink peppercorns, light summer strawberries, crushable floral and fanciful fun. Chill it, grill with it, make it your quaffer, your guzzler, your juice. This is such a wonderful example of the love for Gamay that Steve has championed for so long, evident in every sip. Truly antithetical to the vast-majority of California wine, a light and quenching red to serve chilled in the sunshine.