Guide to Canada’s Best Wines 2020 – Top Gamay

Announcing Canada’s Top Gamay

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Single Vineyard Gamays Top the Charts

Category Overview by David Lawrason

Given that we asked Canadian wineries to put forward their “best” wines for the Guide to Canada’s Best Wines, not many included gamay, which is a statement on the industry perspective on this grape. Even more so by B.C. wineries, with only two wines entered (although I know there are more out there). So, it becomes difficult to make a national statement on gamay. But certainly some key producers in Niagara have found the handle.

As I sorted through the winners, even if tightly focused on Malivoire on the Beamsville Bench, who have made a virtue of gamay in Ontario, and 13th Street using Creek Shores and Niagara-on-the-Lake fruit, I noticed a significant trend. The top half dozen wines are all single vineyard renditions, made in a traditional style, a comment that deserves elaboration.

Gamay is the grape of Beaujolais, most well-known for easy going, fruity almost tannin-lite reds meant to be consumed when they are young. A fermentation process called carbonic maceration amplifies the fruity, soft, gulpable ambiance. However, in the Beaujolais region there are almost a dozen village or ‘cru’ appellation wines fermented traditionally to bring out more of the terroir driven influences. They are more complex, a bit more expensive, yet still great value, and way more interesting.

This is also the direction of Canada’s best examples and more producers need to embrace gamay in this context. Forget the Pop Shop, cash flow grapy style and focus on wines of substance that are still cheaper to make and purchase than pinot noir, but still serve the light red market. Which is a very important consideration given the travails of making pinot noir in Canada, which is far more expensive and less consistent.

So, if you are fan of lighter reds in general, and don’t always want to pay the freight for top pinot noir, consider paying that extra $5 to $10 for a top, single vineyard gamay.

Return to the complete Guide to Canada’s Best Wines.

The top 10 Gamays in Canada:


Malivoire Courtney Gamay 2018, VQA Beamsville Benchn($30) 

Malivoire Wismer Foxcroft Gamay 2019, VQA Twenty Mile Bench ($28) 

Malivoire Genova Gamay 2019, VQA Vinemount Ridge ($28) 

13th Street Gamay Whitty Vineyard 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($25) 

Malivoire Gamay Le Coeur 2019, VQA Beamsville Bench ($28) 

Southbrook Triomphe Gamay Laundry Vineyard 2018, VQA Vinemount Ridge ($30)

Leaning Post Gamay The Natural 2019, VQA Twenty Mile Bench ($30)

Adamo Huebel Grapes Estate Gamay Noir Oaked 2017, VQA Four Mile Creek ($30)

Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2019, VQA Niagara Escarpment ($22) 

Tawse Gamay Cherry Avenue 2018, VQA Twenty Mile Bench ($32) 

More top Gamays:


Stratus Gamay 2019, VQA Niagara-on-the Lake ($29)
Deep Roots Gamay 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($24)
Volcanic Hills Gamay Noir 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($24)
Megalomaniac Avante Garde Gamay 2018, VQA St. David’s Bench ($25)


Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2018, VQA Four Mile Creek ($22)
13th Street Gamay 2018, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($18) 
13th Street Gamay 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($20)


13th Street Gamay Sandstone 2018, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($24)
Leaning Post Wismer Vineyard Gamay 2018, VQA, Twenty Mile Bench ($25)


indicates the wine received a 5 star value rating from two or more writers.

Return to the complete Guide to Canada’s Best Wines.