All About Gamay

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Pronunciations – “Gam-may”

Gamay is a grape variety hailing from France where it is still most planted. Most known for wines produced in the region of Beaujolais although it is grown in the Loire Valley as well. It has a very long history and the first time it was mentioned was the 15th century. Science has proven that it is a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. 

It grows vibrantly and it tends to produce a lot of fruit, therefore today it is planted mostly on granite soils where the crop is limited naturally due to soils that are not as fertile. In the glass it ranges from pale to medium in intensity and ruby red in color. 

Gamay Tasting Notes

Primary Notes – Red fruit (Strawberry, Raspberry, Red currant, Red Cherry) Floral (Violet)

Secondary Notes – Carbonic Maceration (Banana, Bubble gum)

Body – Light to Medium

Palate– Sweetness – Dry; Acidity – High; Tannins – Low;

Typical ABV% – 10.5-12.5%

Gamay Style 

Gamay is produced as a dry still red wine and it is almost always unoaked. Gamay will be oaked in certain cases by producers in some of the ten Crus of Beaujolais. The light aromas and characteristics of the grape variety can easily be masked by oak aromas and spices. 

Sometimes it produces rose and white wines but these are in a really small percentage of production. 

Notable Wines Made From Gamay – There is a specific style produced in Beaujolais which is released every third Thursday in November. This style is called Beaujolais Nouveau and it is the first wine of the year. 

Gamay Classifications 

As mentioned previously, this grape variety is grown mostly in France, predominantly in Beaujolais and the Loire Valley. Most known AOCs for Gamay are:
-Beaujolais

-Beaujolais VIllage

-Beaujolais Crus 

When To Drink Gamay

Gamay from Beaujolais should be drunk young with very light dishes and it can be drunk lightly chilled as well. Wines from Beaujolais Village AOC can be aged  for a couple of years but they don’t benefit from too much aging.
The wines coming from the Crus can age for five years or more and they can develop a nice, Burgundian character. 

Gamay Serving Temperature – 54-57 ºF (12-14 ºC)

Best Years To Drink Gamay

Entry level Gamay from Beaujolais can be consumed straight away, not to mention Beaujolais Nouveau which is made to be drunk as soon as it’s bottled. Beaujolais Village can age between one and three years. Beaujolais Crus on the other hand can be aged for five years or more and will develop nicely. The most age worthy would be the ones from the Cru of Morgon, more precisely from Cote du Py. 

Gamay Average Prices

Being mass produced and with a bit of a bad reputation following Gamay and Beaujolais wines due to the Nouveau style, the wines tend to be pretty affordable. The wines range from 8$ to maybe 25 $ for the ones produced in the Crus. 

Gamay Nutrition Facts

There’s about 115 calories in a glass of Gamay with about 2g of carbs. A bottle stands at about 650-700 calories and about 12g of carbs. 

Fun Fact About Gamay

Some Beaujolais is produced in a very interesting way. Carbonic maceration or Semi-Carbonic maceration is a method of production that involves stainless steel tanks being filled with uncrushed bunches of grapes and sealed tight. The grapes start to ferment from inside and once the alcohol level reaches 2% the grapes pop and start fermenting as usual. This method of production takes out a lot of color and relatively low level of tannins. The byproducts are aromas of bubble gum and banana.


Gamay Grapes