2017 Southbrook “Laundry Vineyard” Gamay, Vinemount Ridge VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 12.9%, Residual Sugar 3 g/L) Winery and website $24.75 (750ml bottle)

It appears that my love for great Gamay wines grows stronger each and every year, and this is particularly true of those better examples coming out of Ontario. There was once a day, not so long ago, where for my palate there was only one winery making definitive Gamay in the region.

Today it appears that many a local Vigneron/Winemaker has finally seen the bright red/purple light, recognises the true potential of the grape in our soils and climate, and now makes excellent Gamay with much less a heavy hand than was previously the norm. And for this I am truly thankful, having tasted way too many overworked, over-oaked,  and, quite frankly, dishwater dull, flat, and clumsy efforts that bore little or no relation to the inherent vibrant vinous thrill that is good, well-crafted Gamay.  

Which brings me to this relatively new release from Southbrook, for me one of the real highlights of this year’s Taste Ontario event at Toronto’s R.O.M. last month.

The bouquet presses all the correct buttons when it comes to a textbook expression of the grape in a cool climate, with a to-die-for rotundone pepperiness (a bellwether of top quality Gamay in my book) surrounding a core of seriously punchy red berry fruit accompanied by hints of rose petal and violets.

This red berry profile (think mouth-watering raspberries and cranberries) continues to the palate where its delicious crunchy snappiness adds to what makes for a most pleasurably elegant mouthfeel, with some surprisingly assertive dusty tannins giving the wine a pretty substantial structure that most wines made from the varietal only dream of. Further investigation reveals that 60% of the grapes were fermented whole cluster. Well there you have it.

This is another delicious wine from Sperling and her Southbrook crew, and now one of my most favoured Ontario Gamays. Good stuff.

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 this is some fantastically priced fizz.