Uncorking Gamay Wine: Everything You Need to Know

Gamay Wine

If you are looking for something new to try, Gamay wine should be at the top of your list!

In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about Gamay wine. And we’ll give you a brief overview of its unique production process, great food pairings, as well as some quick facts about this delicious wine. Finally, we’ll share our top 7 Gamay wines for you to enjoy!

Table of Contents

What is Gamay Wine?

Gamay wine is a light-bodied red wine made from the Gamay grape most notably grown from the Beaujolais region of France. And it has a distinctive fresh and fruity flavor that makes it popular among many people who enjoy easy drinking red wines.

Additionally, its usually very low in tannins and high in acid, making it naturally bright and fruit forward. So I’d recommend enjoying this wine at a slightly chilled temperature (~55F – 60F).

Where is Gamay Produced?

France Wine Region Map red grapes pinot noir vintage champagne

Gamay is produced primarily in the large wine producing Beaujolais region of Burgundy, France. In fact, Gamay is often called Beaujolais and vice versa. But despite popular belief, not all Gamay wines are from Beaujolais. Because it is true that all red Beaujolais is made from the Gamay grape variety; however, not all Gamay is from Beaujolais.

There are 12 appellations in Beaujolais made up of three (3) tiers:

  • Beaujolais – Largest region that is well-known for its expansive flatland spread across 72 communes.
  • Beaujolais-Villages – Comprised of 38 villages in the hilly region to the north of Beaujolais; producing wines with a richer structure and complexity than their southern counterparts.
  • 10 Crus of Beaujolais – France’s leading natural winemakers are producing sophisticated, ageworthy wines that are becoming more popular. Because they sustainably cultivate old vineyards, picking the ripest fruit with minimum interference en route to crafting truly remarkable wines. (St. Amour, Julienas, Fleurie, Chenas, Moulin a Vent, Morgon, Chirouble, Regnie, Brouilly, Cotes de Brouilly)

Gamay grapes are also grown in other areas around the world, such as California, Oregon, Australia, Canada, and other parts of France (Loire Valley). And some Gamay producers are experimenting with aging gamay wines, which can add additional depth and complexity to the flavor profile.

How its Produced? Carbonic Maceration

Gamay is produced using a winemaking method called Carbonic Maceration. This technique involves whole bunches of grapes (that are not crushed) being placed into sealed tanks filled with carbon dioxide. Then the carbon dioxide seeps into each grape, causing the juice within each individual grape to begin fermenting. Moreover, when the grapes burst open, gravity pushes them to the base of the tank/vessel and conventional fermentation occurs and finishes.

As a result, Gamay wines tend to be fruity, light bodied, and low in tannins. Typically, these types of wines should be enjoyed at a young age and not stored for aging.

What is Beaujolais-Nouveau?

Beaujolais-Nouveau is a special type of Gamay wine that is released each year on the third (3rd) Thursday in November. And these wines are considered one of the fastest produced wines because they only age for a few weeks before drinking. Again they are made from freshly harvested Gamay grapes, produced using the carbonic maceration winemaking method discussed earlier.

In fact, the 3rd Thursday of every November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day! created by Georges Duboeuf aka the “King of Beaujolais”.

What Does Gamay Taste Like?

Gamay Taste Profile

Gamay wine typically has a light-bodied texture, with notes of tart cherry, black currant, raspberry, and strawberry with aromas of earth, violet, and a distinct banana scent

And its usually low in tannins and high in acid, which gives it a fresh finish. Also its bright fruitiness makes Gamay a great choice for pairing with food.

Gamay Food Pairings

Gamay’s light, fruity flavor with high acidity and low tannins which makes it a great pairing with many different types of food.

And for elevated flavors, try matching Gamay with a range of meat and seafood dishes blended with herbs and spices. For example:

  • roast turkey with herb stuffing and cranberry sauce
  • pork belly
  • fried fish and calamari
  • cream sauce pastas
  • roasted chicken with herbs 
  • grilled steak with chimichurri sauce
  • duck confit
  • duck with cherry sauce
  • grilled or baked salmon 
  • spicy tuna

All of these dishes will bring out the fruity elements in Gamay perfectly. Plus the high acidity of the wine will cut through all the richness of the dishes.

To be honest, Gamay is an incredibly versatile wine to pair foods with. So if you’re looking to pair any food, give this wine a try—you probably won’t regret it.

Quick Facts About Gamay Wine

Quick Facts About Gamay
  • Light-bodied wine with high acidity, low tannins, fresh and fruity (undertone of banana)
  • Drink slightly chilled (55F to 60F)
  • Beaujolais Nouveau DAY is the 3rd Thursday of every November!
  • Perfect wine pairing for your Thanksgiving dinner or next Chinese meal!
  • Beaujolais-Villages on the label confirms that the grapes were cultivated within 38 villages across Northern Beaujolais
  • Beaujolais Cru – Don’t look for “Beaujolais” on the label; rather seek out its ten (10) distinct crus: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly.

Our 7 Favorite Gamay Under $30

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1) Jean Foillard Beaujolais-Villages 2020

Jean Foillard Beaujolais-Villages 2020

This wine is a bright and light gamay with fruity aromas of raspberry and strawberry, along with earthy aromas and a bit of good funkiness to it.

And it’s lively on the palate, with juicy flavors, a refreshing acidity, and finishing with a slight peppery note. One of my favorites BVs because of the funk to it.

2) Domaine Chardigny Saint-Amour À la Folie 2020

Domaine Chardigny Saint-Amour À la Folie 2020

This wine from Saint-Amour has a beautiful ruby color and delicate aromas of fresh cranberries and other red fruits. And on the palate, it is more fuller body than normal Beaujolais, but it still has a its fresh characteristics.

3) La Chapelle des Bois Cuvée Vieille Vigne de la Cadole Fleurie 2019

La Chapelle des Bois Cuvée Vieille Vigne de la Cadole Fleurie 2

This wine has a deep ruby color, with aromas of red fruits, tobacco, and spices. And on the palate it has medium acidity and medium tannins, with notes of cherries, strawberries, and minerals on the finish. I especially enjoyed it’s earthy and smoky quality.

4) Antoine Sunier Montmerond Régnié 2019

Antoine Sunier Montmerond Régnié 2019

This wine has a bright intense aromas of strawberries, cherries, raspberries, violets, and some smokiness. And its light-bodied with a zesty acidity and soft tannins, finishing with an earthy mineral note. 

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea due to its strong aromas but it was for me!

5) Domaine Chasselay Beaujolais is Not Dead 2020

Domaine Chasselay Beaujolais is Not Dead 2020

Interesting name, solid wine! Because it’s light and fresh, with juicy aromas of cherries, raspberries, and strawberries. 

And on the palate it’s light-bodied with high acidity and soft tannins. Finally it finishes cleanly with a lingering smoky pepperiness that I found very enjoyable.

6) Château de La Chaize Brouilly 2019 (Most Affordable)

Château de La Chaize Brouilly

An affordable wine that has a ruby color with earthy aromas on the nose along with juicy scents of cherries, plums, and spices.

Additionally, you will find that on the palate its clean and earthy yet you can taste the ripe cherries and raspberries. And it has soft tannins with mineral notes for a long savory finish. It’s a great gamay for its price point; I was pleasantly surprised by this one!

7) Domaine Marcel Lapierre Château Cambon Beaujolais 2020

Domaine Marcel Lapierre Château Cambon Beaujolais 2020

This Gamay has a ruby color with fruity and juicy aromas of cherries, raspberries, and plums. And its light-bodied with soft tannins with fruity and fresh flavors of red fruits.

Another good gamay for easy everyday drinking!

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