A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 789: Bachelder Goes Gamay

Bachelder Gamays + one Pinot Noir

Friday, March 26th: Thomas Bachelder invited Rick VanSickle and me to taste his range of 2019 Gamay at his “bat cave” tasting room on Locust Lane in Beamsville. The wines are released on April 2nd. Thomas says that it is his intention with these wines “to forge an identity for Niagara Gamay Noir” by calling his single-vineyard Gamays “cru” as they do in Beaujolais.

Bachelder les Villages Gamay Noir 2019 (grapes from vineyards in Jordan; 28% whole cluster fermentation; $24.95)
Bright ruby in colour; floral, red berry nose; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, raspberry and red plum flavours carried on lively acidity with just the suggestion of oak. A beautifully balanced wine. (90)

Bachelder Bai Xu Gamay Noir 2019 (The Bai Xu vineyard was planted in 1981; 20% whole cluster fermentation; $27.95)
Bright ruby in colour; meaty, plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, red plum and sour cherry flavours; fresh and fruity, light on the palate with good length. (91)

Bachelder Willms Les Naturistes Gamay Noir 2019 ($27.95)
Bright ruby colour; earthy, sage leaf and red plum nose; medium-bodied, dry, fresh red berry and red plum flavours; great balance, lovely mouth-feel. (90)

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir 2019 (vineyard planted 1983; 22% whole cluster fermentation; $27.95)
A deeper ruby colour than the previous Gamays; spicy, reductive nose, smoky, minerally, lightly toasty, rhubarb and red berry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, crisp, sour cherry and red plum flavours with lively acidity. (91)

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir 2019 (52% whole cluster fermentation – $27.95)
Rich ruby colour; gamey, floral, red berry nose with well-integrated oak; firmly structured, juicy cherry flavour; beautifully balanced with lively acidity. Hold 2–3 years. (91–92)

Bachelder Les Villages Chardonnay 2019 ($34.95)
Bright straw in colour; minerally, lightly toasty, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, Burgundian-style, lovely mouth-feel and beautifully balanced. (92)

Bachelder Les Villages Pinot Noir 2019 ($34.95)
Ruby colour; cedary, raspberry nose with a note of violets (slightly reductive); medium-bodied, dry, elegant, firmly structured, raspberry flavour; still tight but well balanced. Hold 1–2 years. (89)

Bachelder Les Villages Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Other wines tasted:

Château des Charmes Chardonnay 2016 (St. David’s Bench, Niagara; Vintages #430001, release date May 1st; $24.95)
Bright straw in colour; lightly toasty, spicy, apple and melon nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, apple and pear flavours; rich mouth-feel and well-integrated oak. (88.5)

Château des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot “Old Vines” 2017 (Estate grown; LCBO #222372, $24.95)
Deep ruby-purple in colour; cedary, savoury bouquet of blackberry and blackcurrant; medium-bodied, dry, blackberry and black plum flavours with ripe tannins and racy acidity. (89)

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