Fourth Wall Wines - Gamay Noir 2018
Composition: 100% Gamay Noir
Aromatics and acidity. A live-wire balancing act of violets, raspberry, black cherry, cranberry, and boudin noir. Taut and energetic, sitting relatively lightweight; packed with loads of fruit to fill the palate.
Winery & Winemaking Team
Riverview Cellars Estate Winery; Alyssa Bator, Nick Salvatore, and Fred DiProfio.
Entirely harvested at the Bator vineyard on Line 2 in Virgil. Robert Bator has grown grapes for over 30 years, and yes, happens to be the father of the lead winemaker. This block was planted in 2004 on the usual sand-clay loam found throughout most of Niagara. 2018 was a vintage with warmth-early followed by rain-often come harvest time, so for an earlier ripener like Gamay, there was slightly less strain and worry to take it all in.
Behind the Music
There’s a lot of energy behind Gamay, both in natural varietal character and in the growing momentum to see it planted widely in the province. When I used to pull corks (and twist caps?) at Canoe Restaurant, if a guest asked for an amazing bottle from Niagara that wouldn’t break the bank, I routinely defaulted to the grape. I had my favourite producers and sites, most of which stayed the same over the last decade. So it was a bit of a revelation when Robert’s fruit came to Riverview and I tasted what Alyssa made.
If there’s a generalization to Niagara, it’s that you want to get cooler grapes from the Bench, and warmer grapes in the flatlands. And if you’ve never been to Virgil, well… it’s like looking for M&Ms under a carpet. The biggest hills are septic tanks. But another prevailing truth to wine is: trust quality producers.
This wine came from a combination of two separate fermentations; one from free run juice and one from a harder press. The latter ended up having some wacky, reductive compounds; the former was a quite clean and spunky. Both ferments and macerations were over relatively quickly – just under a week. They settled, and eventually lived fairly uneventful lives in stainless steel tanks until November 2019 when they were blended to approximately 50/50 proportions for this cuvée. No chaptalization, acidification, or amelioration.
Bottling was completed December 16th, 2019.