Learn everything there is to know about the French Gamay grape variety, an expert tasting profile and how to pair it with flavourful recipes. Become an expert with our top tasting notes and pick your favourite dishes from our extensive menu options.
Then, check out our BBC Good Food Wine Club. In partnership with Laithwaite’s, we’re offering discounts on exclusively curated cases of wine, chosen by wine experts and the BBC Good Food team, for you to subscribe to or buy as a gift. These curated cases come with pairing notes, the stories behind each bottle and serving suggestions. Your plan is customisable, plus Laithwaite’s will regularly send you exclusive offers on BBC Good Food collaboration cases.
What is Gamay wine?
Gamay is synonymous with the Beaujolais region, producing joyful perfumed red wines that are best drunk a little cold. It can make serious age-worthy wines to rival the best of Burgundy, plus it’s also popular in the Loire Valley. It’s not big outside France, but you will find plantings in California, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and England.
Gamay is usually bottled on its own but can be blended with Pinot Noir to create a good-value Burgundy: Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains. Most Gamay won’t be labelled as such. If it’s red and says Beaujolais on the label, then it’s Gamay. Just to confuse matters, Cru Beaujolais and the best wines of the region – such as Fleurie, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent – aren’t labelled clearly as Beaujolais. Wines that are a cut above standard Beaujolais, but not Cru status, are labelled Beaujolais-Villages. Gamay is usually drunk young. In fact, in the form of Beaujolais Nouveau, Gamay is consumed as soon as it has stopped fermenting. But the best Beaujolais, such as Morgon, can improve for 10 years or more in a good vintage.
What does Gamay wine taste like?
Gamay wines can be made in a mixture of styles, but dark cherry, blackberry and floral notes run through them. The flavour of Gamay depends on where it’s grown. In Morgon, it produces deep tannic wines. Whereas in nearby Fleurie, the wines tend to be perfumed and floral. The lighter styles of Gamay can be served cold. Store in the fridge and take out 20 minutes before serving. Weightier wines should be served cool, around 16C.
What dishes go well with Gamay wine?
When in doubt in a restaurant, order Beaujolais-Villages – it will go with everything from roast chicken and fish dishes to hard and soft cheeses.
We have tons of incredible roast chicken recipes to choose from; our classic roast chicken & gravy is an absolute winner. Check out our fish recipes for easy fish dinners such as pies, curries and paellas. One dish perfect for enjoying in the summer sun is our barbecued fish with lemon & rosemary.
Gamay can even handle spicy food. Heavier styles, such as Morgon, are lovely with game and beef stews. Fleurie is superb with seared tuna. For a gorgeous light supper, try our seared tuna & cucumber salad or seared tuna & anchovy runner beans.