Winery Visit: Blue Gypsy Wines

Blue Gypsy Wines Logo

Louis Gaal is a man with a dream. Or rather he and his wife Claire Faguy are a couple with a dream. After spending time in New York where they regularly visited some local wineries, they realized that they loved the experience, and it was the fruit wineries that drew them back time and again. When they returned to Ottawa they set out to look for a small plot of land and Louis began making fruit wines at home to perfect his recipes with the goal of eventually making his wines to share with others.

That “small plot of land” that was originally envisioned to be just over the 5 acres required for a winery license turned out to be a large 60+ acre plot just south of Ottawa. Louis has just opened the winery this October and is still in the process of finishing the inside. You can see it in the background in this picture:

The Winery

Eventually, they’d like to build a house and move to the land permanently. For now, Louis is focused on getting the interior of the building finished – putting up walls and insulating them. Currently Louis has been making his wine at home and it is still his main production site until the winery is finished. The plan is to remain off-grid, with a wind turbine and and propane generator planned to power the winery.

Louis has made all of his fruit wines with no sulphites (sulfites). In order to kill off as much yeast activity as possible, Louis cellars all of his wines for 1 year, and exposes them to -10C to kill off any active yeast. The fruit is locally sourced where possible.

Blue Gypsy offers 8 different wines today – Strawberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Cherry, Raspberry, Apple, Maple, and Ginger (yes, I said ginger!). Most of them are around 11% alcohol and all tend to be fairly sweet on the palate.

If you read my blog you know that I prefer tasting wine with friends and food. So here’s the ultra short version of what was tasted – I’ll add other posts as I try the wines over time as I am sure to visit again:

Strawberry Wine: Nose of extremely fresh, ripe fruit. A hit of sweetness quickly reveals a drier finish with long strawberry finish.

Blueberry Wine: Reminded me of similar wines from the Maritimes (Rodrigues, Rossignol). Strong blueberry flavours and a mild, medium length blueberry finish.

Cranberry Wine: If you have ever had Muskoka Lakes cranberry wine, this one couldn’t be much different. Louis explained that Clare doesn’t like the sharp acidity so he figured out a way to reduce the acidity and keep the cranberry flavours. Louis pointed out that some claim it tastes like cranberry cocktail, and I had to agree (although this one is not for kids!).

Cherry Wine: This was one of the most interesting wines and I realized on the way home I should have gotten a bottle for a longer sampling. It was very different than the other fruit wines and had an almost menthol nose and a mouthfeel that can only be described as tannic but I wasn’t quite sure where that came from.

Raspberry Wine: If you love raspberries, this is the wine for you. Slightly effervescent, this was a mouthful of fresh raspberries with one of the longest sweet raspberry finishes I have tasted.

Apple Wine: This one is quite smooth, but maintains a nice acidity to the wine. Short-medium finish, this one is a wine that most people would find quite drinkable. Louis mentioned that he plans to eventually make and iced cider in addition to the wine.

Maple Wine: This was an interesting wine. If you’ve had maple ice wine from Ontario (Crown Bench Estates), it can be almost too sweet and syrupy. This one was not too sweet and had a very strong maple finish. And as Louis pointed out, he can make this one any time of year as he can easily source maple syrup. I bought a couple of bottles of this to share with friends and family.

Ginger Wine: Made with ginger root grown on the property, this is the most intriguing wine I have ever tasted. Not strong nor effervescent, this one is definitely for those who want to try something different!

Louis hopes to get to 10,000L production size and turn his hobby into his full time passion. It will be interesting to see how his dream develops over the next few years!

Getting there: Blue Gypsy Wines is located at 1595 Lindsay Road, Oxford Mills, Ontario. Of course if you have the Uncork Ontario app you can just follow the driving directions. 🙂

They will be closing soon for the winter but if you follow Louis/Clare on twitter or give them a call at 613-698-7685 they can let you know the weekend hours. Or better yet, visit them at Savvy Company’s Sip, Swirl, Savour and Selebrate event, or the Ottawa Wine and Food Show Nov 10-13.

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2 Responses to Winery Visit: Blue Gypsy Wines

  1. Cyndi Beales-Alcock says:

    Rodrigues winery is in Newfoundland, not Nova Scotia. But yes, it is very close to those! All of their wines are very lovely, and very tasty. They are enjoyable by the educated and uneducated palate. They should be tried and savoured by everyone!

  2. mcshawn says:

    True. And Rossignol is from PEI. I guess I was just “in” Nova Scotia when I drank those. 🙂 Just changed it to say “the Maritimes” instead.

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