Gamay noir is the primary black grape of France's Beaujolais region.
Gamay-based wines are typically light bodied and fruity. They meant to be drunk after some modest aging tend to have more body and are produced by whole-berry maceration. The latter are produced mostly in the designated 'Cru Beaujolais' areas where the wines typically have the flavor of sour cherries, black pepper, and dried berry.
The Gamay name has become attached to other varieties grown in California, which at one time were thought to be the true Gamay. The grape 'Napa Gamay' is now known as Valdeguié, and the name Napa Gamay has not appeared on labels from 2007 onwards. Gamay Beaujolais is considered to be an early ripening Californian clone of Pinot noir. Despite similar names the grapes Gamay du Rhône and Gamay St-Laurent are not the Beaujolais grape either but rather the southwestern France grape Abouriou.