Learn All About Gamay!

What is Gamay wine?

Gamay is a red wine grape variety predominantly grown in Beaujolais but is  also found in places like the Loire Valley in France (as well as Oregon, California, and Australia). 

Among winemakers, it is known for being both abundant and easy to cultivate, and among wine drinkers for its easy-drinking, light bodied and fruity wines.

Gamay has a pretty delicate flavour profile which makes it particularly well-suited to natural winemaking since chemicals or additives can mask its flavour, and it can easily be overwhelmed by too much oak or other types of manipulation. If you would like to buy Gamay natural wines, we have a big variety in our store.

Carbonic Maceration and Gamay

Winemakers often use carbonic maceration when making Gamay wines - this is a fermentation process that allows the grapes to ferment inside their own skins before being pressed.

For one thing, this is quicker than traditional fermentation, which speeds up the winemaking process quite a lot and allows for the Beaujolais Nouveau wines to be released shortly after the harvest.

Carbonic Maceration also creates esters (fruity-smelling chemical compounds) that lend certain unmistakable flavors to Gamay wines such as cherry, banana, bubblegum, and strawberry.

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Not just Nouveaus!

Gamay is relatively low in tannins and acidity compared to other red grape varieties, making it it a versatile grape that can be used to produce a range of different styles of wine.

While most people know Gamay from Beaujolais Nouveau wines (the most fruit-forward and uncomplicated Beaujolais Gamay, which is always released the third Thursday in November after the harvest), Beaujolais Cru wines (Brouilly and Morgon being two of the best known Crus) show the sophisticated side of Gamay and are structured, complex, and age-worthy.

Producers of natural Gamay Cru wines include Jean Foillard, Domaine Lapierre, and Chateau de Grand Pre.

Popularity of Gamay in Natural Wine

In recent years, Gamay has experienced a surge in popularity among wine drinkers who are interested in natural and organic wines. This is due in part to the efforts of natural winemakers who have championed the grape and helped to showcase its unique qualities and potential, rather than just churning out quantity over quality.

Here are some of our favourite well-known French producers making natural Gamay wines:

Best Gamay wines - our personal favourites

Serious Beaujolais Cru

Jean Foillard - Morgon “Cote du Py”

This iconic Beaujolais Cru wine is taken from the Schist & old volcanic rocks of Cote du Py. It’s more structured than most Beaujolais Gamay, and features complexity through layers of fruit and minerality. A stunning wine that will age for a long time…

Juicy Cult Gamay

Patrick Bouju & Action Bronson - A La Natural

Made famous from the hit Vice show “F*ck, thats delicious!” this highly sought after gamay ‘A La Natural 2017’ is actually a blend, with 20% Chardonnay added in which gives it extra vibrancy alongside the juicy fruit touches of the gamay

Carbonic Beaujolais Gamay

David Large - Toxic Gamay’nger

David Large is a natural wine producer based in the Beaujolais region in France, making energetic and juicy Gamay bombs! This Gamy'nger is clearly carbonic and fun, with fresh aspects shining through. It's juicy, fresh and smokey! Great value!