WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

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WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:47 pm

Republished from the Oct. 10, 2005 <i>30 Second Wine Advisor</i>

Chateau des Charmes Gamay Droit

A quick word about today's featured wine: It's a Gamay, made from the same grape variety as Beaujolais in France ... but <i>what</i> a Gamay!

Gamay Noir "Droit" is a unique clone of the Gamay grape registered by, and grown only on the property of, Chateau des Charmes, which is one of the Niagara Peninsula's older wineries and one of its most spectacular, with an imposing winery building in the style of a French chateau.

In 1982, winery founder Paul-Michel Bosc discovered a single Gamay Noir vine that showed unusual characteristics. Visually, it stood out in the vineyard row because it grew naturally in an upright ("droit") position. More significantly, its grapes proved to ripen about ten days later than regular Gamay Noir, a short but significant difference that yielded higher sugar levels and more intense color, resulting in a Gamay wine with atypically full body, high alcohol and concentrated flavor.

Delighted, M. Bosc propagated the vine through cuttings, registered the clone to ensure international plant-breeder rights for Chateau de Charmes, and now has enough of it growing in the winery's St. David's Bench Vineyard to produce more than 1,000 cases of "Gamay Noir 'Droit'," perhaps the most exuberant and powerful Gamay I've ever tasted, no mere "fruit bomb" but a luscious, complex wine that brings together fruit and floral character with excellent balance and noteworthy minerality.

Konrad Ejbich's Ontario Wine Guide rates it four stars (90-93 - "Terrific. Expect an exceptional experience"). I rate it "Wow!"

<table border="0" align="right" width="155"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/char1009.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Chateau des Charmes 2003 St. Davids Bench Vineyard Niagara Peninsula VQA "Droit" Gamay Noir (CDN$15.95)

Clear, dark garnet with brilliant reddish-violet glints. Delicious aromas, fruit-forward red berries and roses and a warming whiff of cinnamon add up to complexity unusual in a Gamay. Juicy and tart flavors, cranberry and a squirt of lemon; fresh, clean and lasting. Outstanding, a world-class Gamay with a unique Canadian twist. Purchased at the winery in August 2005. (0ct. 9, 2005)

<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> The wine maker suggests pairing it with tomato-sauce pasta dishes, red meats and barbecued foods. It worked well for me with a more refined dish, poached chicken with an herbal tarragon velouté.

<B>VALUE:</B> At the prevailing U.S.-Canadian dollar exchange rate, this cost me US$13.50, a very fine value indeed.

<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> Gamay is not for cellaring, but this wine's purity and balance don't require immediate drinking. It should be good on the wine rack for at least a year or two.

<B>WEB LINK:</B> Chateau des Charmes' attractive Website is online in both English and French.

<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B> Chateau des Charmes' wines are available at the winery, in LCBO stores in Ontario and in at least a few other Canadian provinces, U.S. states, Britain, France and Japan. For distributor information check the winery Website's "Contacts" page, http://www.chateaudescharmes.com/contact/contact.html
Wine-Searcher.com has relatively few hits on Chateau des Charmes.
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Jenise » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:13 pm

Interesting wine. What was the alcohol level, if you remember. I was surprised not to see it mentioned again after you described that this mutant gamay has atypically high alcohol.
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:19 pm

Jenise wrote:Interesting wine. What was the alcohol level, if you remember. I was surprised not to see it mentioned again after you described that this mutant gamay has atypically high alcohol.


I think "atypically high alcohol" has to be measured by the standard of Ontario reds, Jenise. That could mean 12.5%! ;)

Seriously, I don't recall noting it, which implies that it was within normal range. I just checked the Chateau des Charmes website, but they don't mention it, either.

Aha! I went into PhotoShop and manipulated a copy of the label shot, and there was enough data in the lower-left corner that I could bring it up for a close-up. It's 13% abv. Not extraordinary by table wine standards, but "atypically high" for Ontario Gamay I guess.
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Jenise » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:31 pm

Oh dear, sorry to make you go to all that work! I only wondered, thinking that with that intro the number would be 13.5% or more. I guess 13 is high enough considering the 12% on last night's delightful Brun here at Chez Stone.
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:33 pm

Jenise wrote:Oh dear, sorry to make you go to all that work! I only wondered, thinking that with that intro the number would be 13.5% or more. I guess 13 is high enough considering the 12% on last night's delightful Brun here at Chez Stone.


No worries, it wasn't much work, and you made me curious, too!
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Howie Hart » Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:24 pm

I could have saved you the trouble by looking at the bottle in my wine rack, but I was at work. Anyway, I'm bringing that bottle to MOCOOL. :D
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Howie Hart » Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:34 pm

Jenise - I posted the following in a thread a few weeks ago regarding somebody's planned trip to Vancouver. It might be worth looking up next time you cross the border.

Chateau Des Charmes Gamay Droit is a nice Ontario wine available in BC:
http://www.bcliquorstores.com/en/products/582353
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:42 pm

As I mentioned in a thread a while back (and in my blog...hint) this is a very nice wine that can hold its head high with some pretty fierce top end Bojo competition. It's one of my favorite wines from east of the Rocky Mountains.
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:34 am

I am goona have to find a bottle of this! Perhaps if I find the agent here in Alberta? Good luck eh.
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:56 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:I am goona have to find a bottle of this! Perhaps if I find the agent here in Alberta? Good luck eh.


Bob, it might not be as bad as you think ... Chateau des Charmes Website lists an agent in Calgary:

Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Renaissance Wine Merchants
Contact: Mr. Mark Ferrier
or Mr. Jason Denis
601-10th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta, T2R 0B2
Telephone: (403) 296-0170
Fax: (403) 296-0175
mferrier@renwine.com
jdenis@renwine.com
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:42 pm

So I had this wine last night. Pretty good IMO. Others were not so keen. Thor found it smelled like baby powder. I could see that, but I thought a more straightforward "flowery" applied.

The rest of the bottle is corked up in the fridge, so I will revisit.
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Re: WTN: Chateau des Charmes Niagara Peninsula "Droit" Gamay Noir

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:42 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:smelled like baby powder. I could see that, but I thought a more straightforward "flowery" applied.


I got very distinct roses in it, a character that of course turns up in cosmetics from baby powder to blue-haired grandmothers' perfume. Still, I'm not sure "baby powder" works for me as a descriptor here.
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