Get Your Gamay!


If Niagara was just starting out and hiring consultants to advise on red grape varieties, chances are many would suggest Gamay and Cabernet Franc. Grapes that work well in parts of France with climates similar to ours. However, neither of these wines are on today’s top ten chart so who’s going to buy them? And therein lies the dilemma for our local wineries. Do they produce quality, but difficult-to-sell, Gamay and Cabernet Franc, or so-so editions of popular reds such as Cabernet and Merlot?

What got me thinking about this is my tasting of three local Gamays. In my glass is a spirited, playful Cave Gamay ““ really bright flavours, white pepper vitality and great refreshment. So good ““ one of the best local Gamays I’ve ever tasted. While it has the Beaujolais spirit, there is a difference, because of its terroir ““ Niagara soils. It’s hitting the spot as I prepare supper, but what the wine is suggesting is the summer season, and the outdoor life, and lighthearted meals and times in general. Gamay is also versatile enough to partner red or white meats, spicy Mex/Tex, and most everyday foods ““ especially a greasy burger.

gamayEarlier I tasted Angel’s gate Gamay which was lighter and delicate, and hugely gulpable. Will be the perfect light red in the patio season. Liveliness was the big feature in Henry’s Gamay ““ it’s almost as refreshing as a white. There is also a gutsy, earthy quality for partnering with food ““ especially anything with tomato sauce. Ontario Gamay with Italian genes!

Buy all three and start enjoying spring. Lightly chill all Gamay wines, of course.

CAVE SPRING 11 Gamay, VQA Niagara~  228569 $14.95

ANGELS GATE 11 Gamay, VQA Niagara~  107714 $12.95

HENRY OF PELHAM 10 Gamay, VQA Short Hills Bench~  ~ 291112 $14.95

Tags from the story
, ,
Written By
More from Billy


Below is one of the largest selling red wines in Portugal. The...
Read More


  • Absolutely, Billy! I, too, am really drawn to Niagara Gamay. Angel’s Gate Gamay is cartwheels in the grass wine. Pure wholesome fun.

    And Malivoire really takes Gamay up a notch or two on the intrigue scale, even if you pay a bit more for it. That Beamsville area has a sparkle all its own.

    Cave Springs, huh? Gamay from the house that Riesling built? I’m convinced – must try it! (Yeah, what a pushover.) Thanks for the tips!

  • I had a great conversation with Norm Hardie about Gamay. I think that withthe terroir in different areas of Ontario we already have our own Cru Beaujolais – except that not enough people buy Gamay so it stays on the backstage instead of the centre stage.

  • Travis, I think the ‘Not enough people’ is a cop-out! The wine world is conservative, insecure and fearful. It keeps producing more of the same. They pander to the wine media – which only understands old book learning. Wine desperately needs producers with the courage of a Picasso, an Elvis and a Dylan! New expressions to shake things up, and be current, and individual. We need braver winemakers who will risk all to sell us something other than ‘nice’ or ‘rich’. They need to forget what Parker & Co thinks, and to play to the real apostles of wine such as Travis.

  • Hi Sandy, the world of semi-dry/semi-sweet wines has gotten lost in our obsession with richness and power. Maybe we need more summer afternoon drinking – with something like a light, low-alcohol Riesling Sussreserve. Also a great Brunch partner.
    Happy Easter!

    • Happy Easter to you and all the BBB posters!
      Agreed on the semisweet wines with brunch. They are the only ones that I like with eggs. Dry wine and yolks just don’t do it for me.

Leave a Reply