I've long been a fan of the Gamay grape. I first encountered it like many do, in the form of Beaujolais Noveau. I've since out-grown those wines, but I love Cru Beaujolais and also enjoy Gamay from the Loire Valley as well. These are wines that are often priced for daily drinking, have great acidity for with food and are just plain fruity and delicious.
My affection for French Gamay is probably a big reason why I was so disappointed by Sheldrake Point's 2007 Gamay ($16).
A surprisingly light ruby color (almost like a pinot noir) the nose on this wine is fruity with strawberry preserve and stewed cherry aromas, but there is also signifcant oak character that comes through both as vanilla and cedar-wood.
The palate is juicy and soft, without much in the way of structure. On the first day I tasted this, the oak-vanilla was significant, masking the bright strawberry flavors. By day two, the oak had taken a step back, but without enough acidity, the sweet red fruit flavors are a bit much. The finish is dry and ends with a cherry pit note.
I'd be curious to taste Finger Lakes Gamay made in the more traditional style, with much less oak (or no oak at all).