2019 Château des Charmes Gamay Noir, Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA (Alcohol 13%, Residual Sugar 2 g/l) LCBO $15.95 (750ml bottle)

I’ve been watching this wine through the vintages, and it has to be said that this is their best yet.

I received this really rather modestly-priced bottle along with my (perhaps ill-fated?) Gamay vine (courtesy of Ontario Craft Wineries), and sat down to taste it as I thought about exactly where to plant said vine; sometimes I require a little glass to get the creative juices flowing, you know…

I’d been expecting a pretty reasonable glass of wine, as winemaker Amélie Boury has been honing her craft with this variety throughout her tenure at Château des Charmes, but this bottle really knocked it out of the park for me, and was a most welcome surprise at the end of long, hot, arduous day.

Pouring a vibrant purple/red in the glass, the nose is fascinatingly vinous, with loads of lovely Montmorency and Morello cherry fruit, and a hint of that gorgeous and yet elusive sesquiterpene, rotundone, that is rarely found at the Villages level in Beaujolais. The stainless winemaking is pretty reductive, so it takes a little while for the aromatics to become apparent.

The delightful sour cherry and pepperiness carry on to the medium-bodied palate, inherent Gamay’s juicy acidity coming right to the fore with popping, crunchy red fruit flavours, soft/medium tannins, and a medium fruit finish.

Damn good wine for your dollars. A lovely summer sipper!

(Four apples out of a possible five)


Edinburgh-born/Ontario-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, educator, and dad, Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Senior Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he knows that the pic is of the 2017 vintage. He knows…