Ontario Gamay


The North American palate enjoys red wines with richness and sweetness, so it’s difficult for light, tart or rustic reds to compete. “I don’t have time for light reds” is a comment I often hear. Funny how millions of French and Italians have always enjoyed this style. But what do they know! One thing they do, is that tartness and bitternes are a drinker’s friend ““ providing refreshment in the first few glasses, and palate-cleansing later with food. Instead of judging wine on a first sip, they look for a wine to be good company over the evening. An interesting personality is preferred over niceness.

Gamay is best known as the grape behind Beaujolais ““ the classic light red, however, in Ontario this grape takes on a more rustic quality similar to some gusto Italian reds. Wines for hearty foods.

Chateau des Charmes has always been a proud producer of Gamay ““ the Droit has been a recommendation of mine for a couple of decades. And experts at a recent judging finally caught on, and gave it a Platinum award. Very concentrated in flavour so you are more likely to think Barbera than Beaujolais. Certainly rustic, and inviting hearty food. I love its uniquely “˜Ontario statement’.

The regular Charmes Gamay is certainly one of the best local wines at the LCBO. A wonderful combination of vigour, and earthy flavours ““ even some traditional “˜farmyard’. Again, more Barbera than Beaujolais, so think spicy Italian sausages in a tomato pasta. Lightly chill and toast the good life.

Another of my long-time favourites is Cave’s Gamay. Generally speaking, it could be described as a tart, lightish red that an Italian family might drink with every meal. A good palate stimulator, food flatterer ““ providing nourishment for belly and soul.

Tawse is totally different. A bright, fruity wine that could pass for Pinot. So don’t freak out over the price. I love the play between the razor edge of tartness, and the pretty, delicious fruitiness. The naughty young cousin scenario. Lightly chilled this would be fab to libate/stimulate the dinner chef, and assistant. Also to partner a casual BBQ of chicken or pork.

P.S. See more local Gamay in my recent County Report.

CHATEAU DES CHARMES 12 Gamay, VQA Niagara on the Lake 57349 $13.05

CHATEAU DES CHARMES 12 Gamay Noir “˜Droit’ VQA St. David’s Bench 582353 Vintages $16.95

CAVE SPRING 13 Gamay, VQA Niagara 228569 $14.95

TAWSE 13 Gamay, VQA Niagara 322545 Vintages $18.75


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