Reconaissanace Quebec

May 20, 2010

quebec-flagNOTE: Event!

La Clé des Champs de Dunham

The 13th annual tastes of terroir held in Dunham, QC June 12-13…wine, local foods, crafts, and activities, in a historic village.

A quick overnight to the QC wine country, on the QT, in the off season.
I had a birthday recently, and so we decided to pretend that we were adults and have an overnight getaway that required a passport.  One of the perks of living this far upcountry, is that our friendly neighbors to the north are just a short trip away.  We arranged to see a Cirque Du Soleil show in Montreal, which is the show’s home base, and training zone, followed by a lovely Italian meal in the city, then a quick drive to our lodging in St. Jean-Sur-Richelieu.  The next day we drove into the wine country and checked on as many establishments as we could, focusing on those which we had not previously visited.

We’ve been busy with our Chilean crush and subsequent press, so I’ll add more tid-bits later )

Vignoble Clos de la Montagne - maybe we misunderstood our directions, and I need to follow up, but this one sure looked like it had become a housing development, and was no more…previously known for their whites and a cider.

Les Pervenches - I tried to get an appointment with these folks, because their tasting room does not open until late June.  It was not to be this time, but we drove by and saw some activity, although their shingle was not hanging.  No wonder…they are the only organic and practicing dynamic vignoble in the area, and the only grower of Chardonnay which they blend with Seyval.  They sell to a number of fine restaurants, and as of now they are “Rupture Du Stock” of all but one of their 2008s.

Vingoble La Bauge - Nice facility, a number of wines, whites, rose, fortified whites. late harvest and ice wines…they have a red but are sold out of 2008 and just getting ready to bottle 2009.  The vignoble also raises a number of “exotic” animals for fun and for the freezer.  Red deer, wild boar, and some others become luscious looking saucisson and pate.
Tasted through the line, which represented the array that most of the places do.  All well made wine, and quite tasty.  I actually enjoy the dry severity of the seyvals, but am not a fan of the style that elevates the same wine in oak, but understand why some folks do.  The rose was dangerous.

Vignoble Les Diurnes - these folks were not open although they say every day May through November…granted it is still pretty early in the season and folks need to get things done.  Will try again.

Vignoble Les Trois Clochers - We were welcomed here by some very friendly and large Yellow Labrador looking chiens, one of whom worked his way into the tasting room, the old man of the group, so that he could hang out on the floor next to the tasting bar.  Nadege, one of the proprietors not only tasted us through their line but also helped us out with high quality local info including the Le Cle de Champs festival in Dunham June 12-13.  They have a very down to earth approach to their process, and the tasting room is adorned with local sheepskins, and has a nice selection of goat milk soaps and cosmetics produced by their neighbors ( and their goats too, of course).  We could have spent more time there , but were hoping to make a few more stops, and so I only took a couple of bottles of their fortified seyval which captures the raw flavor of the grape, retains sweetness, and easily balances the fortification.  One for us, and one for our next door neighbors who were caring for our animal friends while away…sweet and powerful so that something would appeal to each of them.

Vignoble Cotes d’Ardoise - The oldest winery in the area, with a stone and wood tasting room, gardens and sculptures, such that the place is able to host events.  The young woman who was at the counter seemed surprised to see visitors so early in the season, and also seemed less than enthusiastic at the prospect.  There was no sales work really, although she would pour a wine if I asked to try it…so I guess that counts for something.  I tried their Riesling ( bone dry, very reserved fruit, mineral, balanced, but not a lot to need balancing 2007 - would try again), their Seyval with no wood ( about the same as what I had tasted elsewhere…need more of this to get a handle on the expression in the area), and their red blend (which is actually pretty good and was decent oak integration).  I took one of the red for debriefing and testing, but will have to award this experience, “hand sales most in need of improvement” on the day.
Will give it another try, and spend time walking the grounds.

Les Fleurs Des Pommiers - great ciderie, only open on the weekends right now…rats…was hoping to get more Pommeau D’Or.

Vignoble Gagliano ( formerly Vignoble Les Blanc Coteaux )  This winery changed hands in 2008 and has seen some significant changes in their facility and wine making program.  Madame Gagliano is new to the wine industry, but she is a natural at high quality hand selling.  That ability coupled with the technological improvements of the process, are bound to garner fans to their project.  The wines were all very polished, and the one red made me blink, because it made me rethink what could be possible with Frontenac and Sabrevois…to make something reminiscent of Tuscany is impressive.  May 30 and June 6 they are hosting brunches at the winery, to celebrate the opening of the summer season…you need to make reservations though, as Madame Gagliano needs to know  how much lasagna to make.

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