2015 Thirty Bench “Double Noir” Niagara Peninsula VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 12.5%, 4g residual sugar) LCBO Vintages $18.95

Having always thought that a Passe-Tout-Grains Gamay/Pinot Noir blend has had the potential to make some of the most delightful easy-drinking of summer wines, I was most happy to see this outstanding effort from our friends over at Thirty Bench. And as we get into the dog days of the Toronto summer I can see this little beauty making a regular appearance in my backyard and up at the cottage.

Ticking all the boxes for Drummond “summer sipper”, this wine pours a most attractive bright purple hue in the glass, with punnet upon punnet of black and red fruit on the nose accompanied by some intriguing dried herbs, campfire, and earthy notes. The palate is quite taut, with raspingly gorgeous acidity and a pleasingly gentle but palpable tannic grip. As I suggest with almost all of wines in this kind of style, definitely serve with a wee bit of a chill, as it does wonders for your enjoyment of the stuff, especially in these warm and muggy afternoons/evenings that we’ll be seeing for a good few weeks.

With that acidity, the wine is remarkably versatile. I love drinking it all by itself, but it will bring some genuine Ontario Wine Country love to almost any dish served en plein air. Burgers, pizza, salads (even with a decent vinaigrette), sausages… and it works a treat with the 8 day brien/48 hour sous vide ox tongue I just completed (See Chris MacDonald’s Sous Vide Cookbook for recipe.)

4 apples out of 5
(Four apples out of a possible five)


Jamie Drummond

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he loves this style of wine. More please!