Hidden Bench Estate Gamay Noir 2020

Canada, Ontario
92 NW 92 Points (Wines In Niagara)
93 JG 93 Points (Wineanorak (Jamie Goode))
92 WA 92 Points (WineAlign)
91 WA 91 Points (WineAlign)
91 WA 91 Points (WineAlign)

Hidden Bench produces some of the most structured, age-worthy wines in Niagara.  This wine is just getting better and better!

Country Canada
Province Ontario
Region Niagara Peninsula
Sub-Ava Lincoln Lakeshore VQA
Producer Hidden Bench Estate Winery
Vintage 2020
Color Red Wine
Varietal(s) Gamay Noir
¥5,280  (incl. tax)

Hidden Bench produces some of the most structured, age-worthy wines in Niagara.  This wine is just getting better and better!

Country Canada
Province Ontario
Region Niagara Peninsula
Sub-Ava Lincoln Lakeshore VQA
Producer Hidden Bench Estate Winery
Vintage 2020
Color Red Wine
Varietal(s) Gamay Noir
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Alcohol 12.5%
Product Code A020R00420
UPC 878102009005
Inventory In Stock (79)
Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

Pouring a brilliant ruby purple, our 2020 Estate Gamay Noir leads with aromas of macerated summer berries, purple violets, and cured meat. The expressive palate is layered with flavours of cherry cola, cran-raspberry fruit, and toasted bread. The ripe fruit character of the 2020 vintage is balanced by refreshing acidity and subtle minerality indicative of this Lincoln Lakeshore vineyard.  Serve slightly chilled at 14-15 ̊C.


Enjoy with BBQ smoked ribs or lamb burgers or simply with soft cheeses too.


Enjoy through 2030

92Wines In Niagara
This Gamay is aged in French oak (14% new) for nine months. The nose is quite plummy with dark cherries, violets, forest berries and integrated spice notes. It’s juicy and dense on the palate with some structure and tannins that showcase the dark cherries, black raspberries, earthy/savoury notes, and spice on a fresh, finessed finish.
93Wineanorak (Jamie Goode)
100% destemmed fruit. This is fresh, juicy, lively and pure with vivid raspeberry and cherry fruit, with good focus and acidity. Fine and pure with a hint of pepper and iron, with nice weight. This is nicely juicy with some structure and nice freshness. Lovely fruit purity here. 
Janet Dorozynski Dip WSET, Ph.D. - A polished juicy gamay with intense red berry fruit aromas and flavours along with a hint of spice and savouriness. Medium bodied and well structured with rounded tannins. Very good concentration and length. Delicious. Tasted July 2022
Megha Jandhyala - This is an intense and intriguing gamay. It seems to shift and transform from one moment to the next: at first fruity, then saline and mineral, now savoury and spicy, only to turn cheerfully fruity again. Then again, perhaps it is all this at once, simultaneously evoking perfectly ripe strawberries and raspberries, wildflowers, salt and pepper, and a hint of meat. It is balanced and firm on the palate, with slightly grainy tannins, bright acidity, and an excellent finish. A year or two in the cellar will help it come into its own. Best 2024-2027. Tasted April 2022
Michael Godel - To say that gamay keeps getting better from vintage to vintage would be a gross understatement but what’s really fascinating is watching the progression within each particular estate. From Hidden Bench this means drilling, isolating and identifying what makes these berries tick and pulling out the characteristics that give the Hidden Bench gamay a true and identifiable cru sensibility. Lincoln Lakeshore is a large sub-appellation but this section of it is quickly lending to gamay, not one to compare to any from Beaujolais but let’s just say it qualifies as one of the 10 best sites in Niagara. Or five to be honest with this push-pull posit tug of floral and mineral, fresh fruit and raw meat. More hematic than ferric but both contribute to the overall feel. Getting some raw emotion from 2020 and a liquid clay chalky feeling not to be denied. Drink 2022-2026. Tasted April 2022.

Vintage Notes

Considered the best-ever Niagara vintage.


Producer Description

About Hidden Bench Estate Winery Owner

Harald Thiel's uncompromising attention to detail has landed Hidden Bench in the Canadian Wine Awards' top 10 every year since the winery opened in 2007 - with Nuit Blanche named Canadian White Wine of the Year. This small, yet modern and sophisticated, estate winery is tucked away on Locust Lane in the Beamsville Bench appellation, essentially hidden by vines. HB's primary focus is to showcase the terroir of the Beamsville Bench through their award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling offerings.

Each and every wine at Hidden Bench is made under strict conditions:

  • Sustainable practices, which means 100% organically certified fruit from only estate vineyards.
  • Individually bunch sorted white wine varietals and bunch sorted and then individual berry sort all of the red wine varietals.
  • Non-interventionist, minimalist winemaking approach with gentle handling of the wine throughout the winemaking process.
  • All wines are made with wild yeast and anything that doesn’t ferment naturally is inoculated and declassified into the winery’s bistro label.


All grapes are handpicked from their estate vineyards into 10kg baskets and then carefully sorted at the winery by their “triage team” so as to ensure that only the cleanest and best fruit is used to make their wines. All white wine grapes receive a single “triage” and then are whole punch pressed to assure the gentlest extraction of juice. All red grapes, particularly Pinot Noir, are bunch sorted and destemmed and then receive a secondary individual berry “triage” prior to being placed in their oak and stainless steel fermenters.

The winemaking team benefits from all the latest technology, such as geothermal cooling and heating with precise temperature control installed in all tanks to permit extended natural settling and natural yeast ferments of whites and appropriate pre-natural ferment, cold maceration of the reds.

As estate winegrowers their goal is to have ther wines reflect the unique individual terroir of the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation parcels that they call home. Accordingly, they eschew non-organic additives and commercially selected yeasts and strive to bottle their wines un-fined and unfiltered whenever possible. All wines are bottled with minimal sulphur dioxide (SO2) to preserve their freshness and quality and to permit them to age gracefully. This approach has permitted the vast majority of theri wines to be vegan friendly and to be certified organic by Procert as of 2015/16.

We believe that real “Natural Wine” has its origin in certified organic and/or biodynamic estate fruit and a non-interventionist approach in the cellar with an acute and precise attention to detail from vineyard to bottle.

Jay Johnston - Winemaker

Following an inspiring food and wine trip to Canada’s west coast in 2002, Jay returned to Toronto with one thing in mind: Leave the software industry behind for a life in vines and wines. Since then Jay received his formal wine education through Niagara College’s Viticulture & Winemaking program, graduating in 2005. Jay was a part of the Hidden Bench team previously, and we are thrilled to welcome him back as our winemaker. Passionate about cool-climate varietals, with their finesse and their delicacy, Jay feels back at home to be focused on Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay in the HB estate vineyards. With a deep passion for terroir, a desire to farm our vineyards to their greatest potential and a profound respect for cellarwork, Jay is extremely excited to be returning to the Hidden Bench family. 


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