A great grape with a poor quality reputation. Gamay is hugely underrated in my opinion. Top quality Beaujolais Cru wines cannot only be of outstanding quality but also much more affordable in comparison to other French appellations.
Structurally it produces wines with generally low tannin and high acidity which can make the body feel a little thin. Top quality wines will have higher tannins and a rounder body,
Gamay naturally produces wines with bright red fruits such as cherries, plums and raspberries. In Beaujolais, particularly in the production of Beaujolais Nouveau, carbonic maceration is commonly used. This produces banana and confected sweet-like strawberry flavours. This winemaking style can work very well but in some wines it becomes over powering and unbalanced.
Due to the structure of Gamay the wines aren’t typically made to age. However, some wines from the Beaujolais Crus can age for around 5 years.
This is the most famous area of Gamay by far. It is also the region with the highest amount of plantings. There are the Crus in the region which each produces different styles from light and floral in Fleurie to heavier and darker in Brouilly and Chénas.
Beaujolais Nouveau was a popular trend based on wines produced from Gamay and sold from the third Thursday in November after the harvest. The resulting wine is light and easy to drink, often served slightly chilled.
The only other area in France where Gamay is very important is in Touraine, Loire.
Gamay is widely planted in Switzerland. It is particularly known for its role in Dôle where it is blended with Pinot Noir. The resulting wine is light and fruity showcasing typical Gamay flavours.
Grown in the Niagara Peninsula and typically producing light, fruity but relatively low quality wines. The wines are often very light, pale red similar in colour to a dark rosé.