Pinard et Filles "Autoportrait" Gamay 2021
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On the forefront of Canada’s low intervention wine scene are Pinard et Filles - also known as Frédéric Simon and Catherine Bélanger - who have been pioneering the art of making wine with a unique sense of terroir in Quebec, Canada - and that means ongoing meticulous experimentation to showcase the Nordic terroir and climate of our neighbor north.
On five hectares of land the couple is experimenting with (for the area) rather uncommon Vinifera varieties such as Dornfelder and Savagnin as well as a variety of Hybrid grapes that hold up better to the extremes of the climate. Regardless of the vine, the fundamentals don’t change: organic farming and a minimum of intervention in the cellar - creating wines that show-case the challenges of making wine in Quebec. The results are wines that are textbook examples of cool climate wine-making - lively, refreshing and complex. Fruit that is so perfectly ripe and balances the line between tartness and sweetness remarkably.
In this month’s edition of Direct Press we’ve included Pinard et Filles’s Autoportrait en Gamay, a grape variety you usually come across when drinking reds out of Beaujolais or the Loire. It’s a 9.5% ABV expression of Gamay that brings up memories of a time when the climate in Beaujolais was significantly cooler. Their relentless effort in chasing finesse in their wines shows - in fact, it’s only been the second time this cuvée has ever been made. The last time the weather has aligned perfectly was in 2017.
Upon opening you’ll find perfectly ripe rhubarb, raspberries, cherries and violets hidden behind a tiny amount of matchstick reduction on the nose disappearing after a few minutes in glass, showing a perfect balance of red fruits, earth and baking spices. High acidity making your mouth ever so slightly pucker and a long, pronounced finish are supporting fruit and driving it home - these are the kinds of wines that made me fall for lighter reds.
Be warned, their lightness can often be deceiving as they’re so pleasant to drink that you sometimes forget to give them the attention they deserve, so do what’s right: Wind down, put on a slow and relaxing record, pour yourself a glass and take it all in.