RKS Wines: Opening the Malivoire Treasure Trove

Yes, we try two Malivoire wines that are sold out. Is this a winery owner’s dream? Is it a wine writer’s despair his readers can’t try what he is writing about? Well “sold out” is “sold out” and neither I or you can do anything about that! But if you like what you read there are ways I can advise you later how not to lose out. By the way Malivoire is an Ontario winery in the Niagara region and on a good day is about a 90-minute drive from Toronto. Four different highways for me.

From the Malivoire Demo Series we try a sold out 2020 Analog blend of Cabernet Franc and Gamay. When done well Ontario can produce both Gamays and Cabernet Francs that are world class. In my opinion they are Ontario’s biggest red wine strength. And blend two possible superstars together the chances are something spectacular will result.

The ferment is indeed innovative as the Cabernet Franc was co-fermented with Gamay that has undergone carbonic maceration in concrete then aged in ceramic and older oak barrels.

73% Cabernet Franc and 27% Gamay. The Gamay was taken from the Foxcroft site and Cabernet Franc from the Homestead Property

We uncork the Analog and what do we get on the aromatic side? We get a luscious laser beam of red fruit generous and very fresh and pure. Cherry, strawberry and raspberry. The winery is certified sustainable but the purity presented on the nose reminds me more of an organic wine. The tannins creep up on you so there are some but in modest amounts. The oak is equally modest. The palate is also gentle with discrete Niagara cherries, with strawberry and raspberry lurking in the background like an understudy at a play ready to jump in at any minute when the star’s voice begins to crack. In a sense it is French on the palate and very Niagara on the nose.

There is enough tannin in this wine to justify ageing until 2025.

I am one to prefer a Pinot Noir with a duck confit but this will do just as nicely and it is a great sipper. This gentle wine deserves to be served with a gentle food so in addition to the duck confit I would suggest also farm raised Irish organic salmon. Although I prefer wild salmon I think it might overpower this gentle giant. No spicy foods or beef please! For vegheads I think a homemade pizza topped with Pasta a la Norma sauce and crumbled feta cheese would do the trick.

In short this is a gentle giant and it deserved to sell out! And I am sorry you could not get a chance to try it. The label makes a statement, “This series of rare demos is imbued with our winemaker’s intent to explore investigate and experiment”. Well Malivoire this was a successful experiment. If I could make a wish list to Santa Claus, I would say let’s ramp up production. I have been a very good boy this year. I hope Santa can come down my chimney so I can leave out a glass of this wine for him. Forget the cookies and milk as Santa may have a cholesterol issue!.

(Malivoire Demo Series 2020 Analog Cabernet Franc and Gamay, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, $27.95, 750 mL, 13% SOLD OUT Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 93/100).

The Malivoire 2020 Gamay “Le Coeur” was a Platinum Winner at the 2020 Wine Align National Wine Awards. A scant 40 cases of six were released this week and sold out in twenty minutes. I am not swayed by medals and awards but when Martin Malivoire tells me this is a very good wine I listen!

Well, no sense in dilly dallying so let’s get to business.

A concentrated nose of black cherries, raspberries, a bit of milk chocolate and Portuguese Obidos cherry liqueur. On the palate this is a Gamy shifting into second gear with a hot engine. There is power and heft to it that I wasn’t expecting. It’s a feisty little bugger with lots of swagger. It borders on being juicy. Although one often expects a blueberry on the palate with a good Cabernet Sauvignon you get it with Le Coeur along with cherry pie. Hauntingly delicious. A long finish that fades slowly.

Whole cluster fermentation a la carbonic maceration for one week followed by daily bucket overs to encourage natural fermentation. Bottled unfiltered after a short stint in old French oak. The wine has the tenacious heart of a Scottie and a West Highland Terrier, the former tough enough to take on a badger and the latter to deal with foxes.

I would pair this with a Greek Shrimp Saganaki for which you can find the recipe here  https://miakouppa.com/2019/06/03/shrimp-saganaki/

I think this will age nicely over the next three years. Do not decant and serve slightly chilled as you should do with all Gamays.

The wine highlights that Ontario Gamay is to be taken very seriously. The label says “Le Coeur” holds a special place in our winemaker’s heart. Capiche!!!

(Malivoire Le Coeur 2020 Gamay, VQA Beamsville Bench, $29.95 (Sold Out), 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 94/100).

Check out their website https://malivoire.com/  and when you do click on “Stay Connected”: so you will be notified of special releases.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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