A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 835: Glorious Gamays

Bachelder 2020 Gamays

Thomas Bachelder left his heart in Burgundy; luckily, for the rest of us, he brought his winemaking talents to Niagara. Thomas thinks like a Burgundian. He only makes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay. This week is his La Violette Release (honouring his daughter Violette’s birthday). Rick VanSickle and I were invited to Thomas’ tasting room (in what he calls The Bat Cave) to sample the release:

Bachelder Gamay Noir Les Villages 2020 (Niagara Peninsula, $25.95)
Deep ruby colour; spicy, toasty, red plum and cherry bouquet; medium-bodied, richly extracted sour cherry flavour; firmly structured and minerally; very elegant for a simple Gamay. (90)

Bachelder Bator P.T.L.G 2020 (Four Mile Creek, $29)
(Thomas’s take on the Burgundian Passe-Tout-Grains, which he calls “Passez Toutes les Grappes” – 2/3 Gamay and 1/3 Pinot Noir)
Deep ruby colour; the Pinot shines through on the nose with notes of raspberry and cherry and top note of violets; medium-bodied, dry, juicy and fruity but firmly structured. (91)

Bachelder Bator 100% Destemmed Gamay Noir 2020 (Four Mile Creek, $29)
Deep ruby colour; earthy, cherry pit nose; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured with gripping tannins; sour cherry flavour with a greenish finish. (89)

Bachelder 13% Whole Cluster Gamay Noir 2020 ($29)
Deep ruby colour; lightly toasty, floral, cherry bouquet, firmly structured with gripping tannins on the finish. A wine for ageing. (88.5)

Bachelder Willms Niagara Cru “les Naturistes” 55% Whole Cluster Gamay Noir 2020 ($29, Four Mile Creek)
Ruby colour; floral, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, lovely mouth-feel; well structured, cherry and red plum flavours. Beautifully balanced. (91)

Bachelder Bai Xu Niagara Cru 32% Whole Cluster Gamay Noir 2020 (Four Mile Creek, $29)
Ruby colour; minerally, cherry nose with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, muscular, well-structured, spicy (cinnamon) and cherry flavours with bright acidity and a firm tannic finish. (90)

Bachelder Gamay Noir Wismer-Foxcroft Niagara Cru 52% Whole Cluster Gamay Noir 2020 (Twelve Mile Bench, $32)
Ruby colour; rose petal, spicy, cherry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, beautifully balanced cherry and red plum flavours; great length and lovely succulent mouth-feel. (92)

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Niagara Cru 33% Whole Cluster Gamay Noir 2020 (Twenty Mile Bench, $32)
Ruby colour; slightly dusty, rustic, meaty nose, terroir-driven flavours of red stone fruit; beautifully balanced and firmly structured with a tannic lift on the finish. (91)

Bachelder Les Villages NOTL Chardonnay 2020 (Niagara-on-the-Lake, $34.95)
Bright straw colour; toasty, floral, peach and apple bouquet with a mineral thread and well-integrated oak; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted rich and fleshy peach and melon flavours; beautifully balanced; lovely mouth-feel. (92)

Bachelder Les Villages Bench Chardonnay 2020 ($34.95, Niagara Escarpment)
Bright straw colour; toasty, floral, peach bouquet with a note of crushed stones; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted peachy and apple flavours; full in the mouth, with lively acidity. (92.5)

Bachelder Les Villages Bench Pinot Noir 2020 ($34.95, Niagara Escarpment)
Ruby colour; violets and black raspberry nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, elegant, ripe and round on the palate, lovely mouth-feel. A wine that speaks to the quality of the vintage. (93)

Thomas Bachelder drawing off his 2020 Les Villages Pinot Noir

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