The 2012 Robin Ridge Gamay is proof that Gamay can be made in a few different styles.
The Blind Taste
I was given this wine to blind taste on Monday, May 25th, 2015. As I was going through the process of tasting, I was feeling a bit flabberghasted. Now, blind tasting really does keep a wine lover humble, and this was no exception to the rule. My olfactory and gustatory senses were driving me toward Malbec or Syrah from South America or even Shiraz from South Africa. As one can likely conclude, I was smelling and tasting red & black fruits, plum, spices including clove and pepper, and the body of the wine was at a medium level due to oaking. The “NOT” category of my blind tasting notes included Cabernet Sauvignon, old world, Merlot, France, Italy, Australia, North America, and Gamay, amongst a few other now irrelevant notes. The reveal really kicked me in the shins. I realized I need to taste more Gamay, and more new world Gamay at that.
A Little on Gamay
According to the book Wines and Spirits Understanding Style and Quality (the Level 3 Advanced WSET guide):
Historically, Gamay was cultivated throughout Burgundy, because it is easy to grow and gives a high yield of early-maturing wines. [pg. 88] Gamay gives fragrant wines that are full of raspberry and cherry fruit, and is very light in tannins. These characteristics are often further enhanced by the vinification technique. [p.95]
As such, my reference at the very beginning with how Gamay can show itself in so many different lights, only rings more true. With the oaking that this particular Gamay received, alongside the fact that it was grown in the Similkameen Valley with rich, lush terroir, can only mean that Gamay has a wonderful potential to be heavier-bodied and spicy as heck.
Robin Ridge Winery is out of the Similkameen Valley in British Columbia. Tim and Caroline Cottrill run the winery, and have been working the land since 1996 when they decided to turn their dream into reality. According to the home page on their website, they are in
the pursuit of a great berry transformed into the perfect wine […] and they invite you to take as much pleasure in their wine as they do in creating it.
Robin Ridge Gamay is available in your local BC PRIVATE liquor store for $24.00.