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I just really like Gamay, okay?

I just really like Gamay, okay?

Southbrook Triomphe Gamay 2016

Southbrook Triomphe Gamay 2016
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
$21.95 winery or online

Yep, another Gamay. I’ve been drinking the hell out of them the last few months. That sudden September heatwave and their crushablility that does better with a slight chill was the perfect pairing I’d been waiting for all summer long. And their spicy scrummy yumminess feels cozy at room temp on these cooler evenings.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll as it again: Gamay really is the perfect grape.                           

And this particular Gamay is a real treat! I picked it up over the summer on a day trip to Niagara, after promising my husband I would only buy one or two bottles. Then I went and bought almost a case from various wineries. I can’t help it! Local wines are just so great.

This Gamay is from Southbrook Vineyards, which is closer to Niagara-on-the-Lake than I’m normally wont to go. See, that part of wine country is flatter so it gets more sun and thus more heat. All that begets bigger wines. There are a bunch of other weird climactic differences between NotL and the Twenty Valley/Beamsville Bench area (where I typically shop), such as higher elevation and the weird air circulation caused by Ball’s Falls that effect the wines – some might call it terroir – so the two regions turn out totally different styles of wine. And I just happen to prefer the lighter wines found in the Bench.

But Southbrook is barely in that region. And Southbrook is pretty special. They’re completely organic, and committed to that biodynamic ju-ju that connects your glass to the earth and the moon in oh-so-mystical ways (read: better, more alive wines).  Their modernist winery cuts just a sliver out of the landscape, surrounded as it is by vines, forest, and an entire ecosystem that nourishes the land and the vines and produces really lovely wines. They’ve even pioneered the orange wine category in Ontario (more on that another time, promise).  

What they don’t grow at home, they source from some of the best vineyards in Twenty Valley. This Gamay is grown in the Laundry Vineyard in Vinemount, which is organically and sustainably farmed and produces delightful wines. If you’ve had Tawse’s Laundry Cabernet Franc, you already know how great the grapes are from the vineyard.

And this Gamay shows all of that attention to detail, care for the earth, and just good ol’ fashion winemaking. It’s fantastic, really. It’s infinitely drinkable, so moreish and flavourful but ridiculously pale in the glass (it could almost be mistaken for a dark rosé).

If this is your first taste of a Southbrook wine, you’re in for a treat. If you’ve already tried a few, you know what I’m talking about. They’re doing something really special in Niagara, so get in the car, grab one of these last nice days of autumn, and pick up a case or two.

Nose: Dusty, peppery strawberries. So Gamay, so lovely.
Palate: This is where it gets really special. It’s really plush and velvety but the juicy acidity brightens the whole thing up. It’s like one of those travel sweets you get at the airport that come in a gold tin. They’re these tart little hard candies (I’m thinking specifically of the blackcurrant ones) that are covered in the softest powdered sugar. They’re not really sweet at all and neither is this wine – it’s all tart fruit and soft texture that melts on your tongue. It’s really fruity and juicy with a bit of spice and everything nice (sorry). Honestly, the texture and acidity are beautiful. It’s just one of those nice wines that’s so easy to drink that you’re sad when it’s gone. Luckily, I have another bottle in my basement.

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