Not to be confused with lesser clones of Pinot Noir, the true Gamay is more properly called Gamay Noir a Jus Blanc (for its notably white flesh). A very important light red varietal grown in many areas of France and Switzerland. Best known in Burgundy as Beaujolais, the light, fruity red wine that is cause for the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration the third Thursday of each November. A vigorous varietal that buds early, but also ripens early which makes it a good choice in cool weather areas. Gamay is known for producing wines of low tannins, bright red fruits and a distinct pale red color with blue hues. Carbonic maceration can add notes of bananas and bubblegum.
The best known Gamays come from Beaujolais, but it also grows well in the Loire valley as Gamay de Tourraine and as Vin de Pays du Jardin. In the past various clones were used mainly to add pigment to lesser wines. Production is also high in Switzerland near Geneva.