2021 Bachelder “Les Villages” Gamay Noir, Niagara Peninsula VQA, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 12.5%, Residual Sugar 1.1 g/l) LCBO Vintages $26.95 (750ml bottle)

While famed winemaker Thomas Bachelder may be better known for producing some seriously top-notch Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, his Gamays aren’t too shabby either, as shown here with his 2021 “Les Villages” bottling. That being said, seeing Bachelder’s name on a bottle is pretty much a guarantee that you’ll be drinking an intrinsically solid glass of wine, as that man certainly knows his way around a cellar.

Sourced from single vineyards (Wismer-Foxcroft, Bai Xu, Bator, Willms, and Wiley) in both Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Beamsville Bench and then labelled Niagara Peninsula VQA, this wine seeks to offer the drinker a taste of the terroir of “All-Niagara” according to the marketing material, something that may seem a little funny at first but really makes sense in the glass. Riffing on the Burgundian concept of Village tiered juice, this wine really does encapsulate Niagara Gamay, and it does so in a most delicious manner.

The nose is remarkably pretty and perfumed with loads of raspberries and strawberries, rose petal Turkish delight, and an extremely appealing pepperiness. In the mouth, it’s a sprightly light-medium-bodied thing with an extremely pleasingly cranberry-like acidity. The tannins are supple and satin-like, but they structurally frame the tart fruit perfectly. The mineral finish is remarkable for a “Village” wine, and I’m feeling that is coming from the escarpment limestone.

I may be wrong here, but I’m guessing that Bachelder brought some of his Pinot smarts to this wine, as I’m sensing a healthy bit of whole clusters in the ferment here; it’s actually nosing and tasting like one of the more Pinot-ish Gamays I have tasted in some time.

This really terrific expression of Niagara Gamay is released in a couple of weeks on March 16th, and as only 481 cases were produced, I’d advise you to grab as many bottles as you can, as whether you are, like me, a huge Gamay fan or you are gingerly tipping your toes into the Gamay world, this wine is definitely for you.

(Four out of a possible five apples)


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