A vibrant, purple grape in the vineyard, Gamay is a thin-skinned variety that prefers granitic soils, which counterbalance the grape’s naturally high acidity. The variety thrives in cool climates, and the grapes tend to ripen early.
Gamay is a juicy grape, with lots of plush fruit flavors on the palate: fresh raspberry and crushed strawberry often dominate, with secondary tones of purple flowers. Wines made with the grape from special sites can also offer earthy tones, with pepper, stone and dried fruit sensations.
Best known for the purple wines it produces in the Beaujolais region of France, Gamay has been grown here since at least the 15th century. Although it gained popularity for its Beaujolais Nouveau, a youthful style of wine produced using carbonic maceration that is released on the third Thursday of November each year, Gamay can also produce more structured, complex selections, especially within the ten crus of Beaujolais. Wines meant for aging are produced by whole-berry maceration, yielding significantly more body.
Besides Beaujolais, Gamay is common in the Tours area of the Loire Valley, though it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to produce a more full-bodied style of wine.
It is also grown in Canada’s Niagara Peninsula and Prince Edward County, in some areas of Australia and in California.
It has perhaps seen the most success in the New World in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where it was introduced 30 years ago. A significant number of Willamette Valley wineries now produce well-balanced and attractive Gamay wines of depth and unique character.
Synonyms: Gamay Beaujolais, Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc
Samsara 2020 Shokrian Vineyard Gamay (Santa Barbara County)Central CoastJust before Gamay Noir was about to fall into a same-flavor-everywhere trap, ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$42
Syncline 2019 Estate Grown Gamay Noir (Columbia Gorge (WA))Washington OtherThere is very little Gamay grown in Washington, with these young vines ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$40
Castello di Amorosa 2020 Cresta D'Oro Vineyard Rosato (Green Valley)SonomaMade from 97% Pinot Noir and 3% Gamay sourced from an estate ...See Full Review$35
Suzor 2019 Par Contre Gamay Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)Willamette ValleyThere's a whiff of funk as this wine opens in the glass. ...See Full Review$24
Duck Pond 2017 Gamay Noir (Willamette Valley)Willamette ValleyTart cranberry and rhubarb flavors dominate, and the low finished alcohol supports ...See Full Review$28
Caves du Paradís Olivier Roten 2019 Dôle Coteaux de Sierre Red (Valais)SwitzerlandThis cherry-red-colored wine is made with 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Gamay. ...See Full Review$24
Ribbon Ridge Winery 2019 Ridgecrest 'Ridgecrest Vineyards' Old Vine Estate Gamay Noir (Ribbon Ridge)Willamette ValleyA juicy bowl of tart berries, this is a perfectly gulpable, low-alcohol, ...See Full Review$30
Walter Scott 2019 Arlyn Vineyard Gamay Noir (Chehalem Mountains)Willamette ValleyAn exciting new wine from this producer, it's literally vibrating with electrically ...See Full Review$40
Anne Amie 2019 Twelve Oaks Estate Gamay Noir (Chehalem Mountains)Willamette ValleyLight, bright and spicy, this ultimately quaffable wine sings of summer. That's ...See Full Review$25
Georges Lignier et Fils 2018 BourgogneBurgundyThis blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay comes from three parcels in ...See Full Review$23
Adroît 2019 Gamay Noir (San Benito County)Central CoastFreshly smashed strawberry and lively hibiscus aromas meet with white pepper, pine ...See Full Review$25
Te Mata 2020 Estate Vineyards Gamay Noir (Hawke's Bay)New ZealandTe Mata's bright, cherry-hued Gamay makes for a refreshing change from its ...See Full Review$22
Collin-Bourisset 2019 Louis Bourisset Gamay Noir Le Perréon (Beaujolais-Villages)BeaujolaisThis is a smooth, ripe and generously textured wine. With rich berry ...Best BuySee Full Review$13
Stasis 2019 Murmur Vineyard Gamay Noir (Santa Maria Valley)Central CoastThe early attempts at Gamay Noir on the Central Coast trend toward ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$42
Clement et Florian Berthier 2018 Pinot Noir-Gamay (Coteaux du Giennois)Loire ValleyThis bright, spicy wine offers cherry flavors and a good balance between ...See Full Review$17
Anne Amie 2018 Twelve Oaks Estate Gamay Noir (Chehalem Mountains)Willamette ValleyThe smoky, sexy nose pulls you in, leading to bright and polished ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$25
So Fresh 2019 GDG Gamay Noir (Ballard Canyon)Central CoastCrunchy fruit aromas of red currant are enhanced with smashed up cement ...See Full Review$36
Syncline 2018 Estate Grown Steep Creek Ranch Red (Columbia Gorge (WA))Washington OtherThis wine is a blend of 48% Mondeuse, 28% Syrah, 14% Grenache ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$60
Cooper Mountain 2018 Gamay Noir (Willamette Valley)Willamette ValleyPart of Cooper Mountain's 5 Element Series, this aromatic Gamay opens with ...See Full Review$30
Division 2018 Cru Gamay Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)Willamette ValleySourced from the Methven Family vineyards, this shows a bit of palate-expanding ...See Full Review$30
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