Once again, I was very enthusiast to be participating in the biggest event for local Wines here in Québec. The 2016 edition of La fête des vendanges – Magog | Orford really did live up to the expectation. More exhibitors, more activities and more cooling equipment are showing a dedication to improve and a special care towards the flocks of visitors.
The event is separated in different categories including food, music, kids activities, artisanal stuff, etc. Of course, this is a wine blog so i’ll only be discussing the important aspect, wine!
More than 50 stands were eager to present their wine and spirits related products. I did not taste everything but I had a pretty good summary of Québec’s wine industry. I’ve had classics, surprises, discoveries and lots of smiles from so much cheerful and passionate people.
The Scieur Brothers were the first to celebrate the harvest by establishing an annual festival This is what later led to the actual ever growing Fête des vendanges – Magog | Orford with the Cep d’argent still very engaged and very well represented.
This vineyard is making white, red, rosé, icewine, late harvest, mistrelle, pretty much everything. However their wines that stands out are their Bubbles! The Scieur Borthers comes from a family of winemakers in Champagne and are trying out the traditional method all the way here. Of course, growing conditions, climate, soils, grapes varieties are very different from those of Champagne but the Savoir-faire is there and showing in the long lasting bubbles.
The Blanc the Blanc is a very fresh wine and the Rosé is fruity with a soft spicy finish. Both are made from Seyval Blanc.
Domaine de Lavoie
Beautiful estate though by M. Lavoie himself since he was an architect before being a winemaker. He is also extremely engaged in the region’s tourism Management. He chaired the organization of the Exhibition of Quebec wine and cheese as well as Rougemont’s World of cider event. I found a man, very proud of his work with a wide variety of products.
Domaine du Ridge
New product from Domaine du Ridge! The Stanbridge is a Vidal dry, fresh with notable oak and body. Welcome in the wine of Québec Family!
At the very beginning of Dunham’s wine Route, Centaure is very recognizable by their Amphore like Bottles inspired by the beginning of wine itself with the grec and the romans.
The Lagrima de Centurio Is a fortified with 30% of icewine must, so a blend between the two techniques. It’s very luscious like drinking liquid nutty caramel.
Vignoble du Marathonien
Personally, this is my favorite Icewine producer. I also admire that they are trying to develop some Vitis Vinifera, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Only very few producers are taking on this challenge in Quebec, Hybrids are the norm here. I couldn’t taste their Vinifera blend because it’s too limited but i’ll be keeping an eye on this.
Very light rosé from De Chaunac grapes: French hybrid with small grapes and a dark color; And Seyval noir grapes: Thin skinned hybrid.
Vendanges Tardives comes from the same press as the Icewine but a bit less concentrated since the vinification takes place earlier and at higher temperatures.
The ice wine is marvelous, It has a beautiful deep golden color with a very full body. it’s mouth-coating, harmonious and aromatic.
Vignoble de la Bauge
Originally, La Bauge was only a Boar Farm, thus the name. ( Bauge is a boar’s nest). There’s still Boars and all kinds of unusual animal really, but also vines since 1986. It’s a very popular spot for wine tourism and very fun to visit.
They have a wonderful example of oak VS Unoaked blends of hybrids.
Vignoble J.O. Montpetit & fils
Vignoble J.O. Montpetit & fils had staffs at their stand as friendly as it can get. This is one of their favorite product and a very good seller, a deep amber, still fruity fortified wine.
Domaine & vins Gélinas
Built from nothing on an ancestral family land, Domaine & vins Gélinas is a father and son project and the first commercial estate in Mauricie. The vines are separated in four plots: White , red, icewine and try-outs for research and improvement.
Gagliano owners are Sicilians. They exchanged the heat challenges of Italy’s island for Quebec’s cold challenges. Their reds are renowned, they even tried an Amarone style, that’s some italian roots there. Gagliano is a big player in the industry and a must visit.
La roche des brises
The first vineyard in Montreal’s north-shore area. I was very surprise to discover some wines from Geisenheim grapes. A few producers are presenting wines from this Variety and its refreshing in comparison to the usual Seyval, Vidal, frontenac.
Originally planted with apples, the estate completely changed when Michel Levac et his wife, Diane Normandin decided to replant everything with vines, Mystère Rosé is one of the two different rosé made at the estate. It is interesting with spicy, fruity aromas.
Domaine des salamandres
Now this was a pleasant surprise, I was already a fan of their poiré, especially cuvée Tabarnak, and of the estate itself. It takes its name from a small endangered specie of lizard who lives within the plot of land and is specially protected.
Besides the pear’s nectars, they also grow vines, and with it, beautiful sweet wines and icewines. Th Icewine is the sweetest with concentrated flavours.
This sweet Vidal late Harvest is less complex and concentrated but offers the same but diluted aromas.
This, this is the good stuff. This Geisenheim special cuvée was my favorite discovery of the whole event! It’srefreshing, not cloying and nicely balanced. Even if it’s a sweet wine, there’s a nice acidity that was cleaning my palate from all the other icewines I had tasted. The Hockey player, Alexei Emelin who’s a share holder in this estate provided the name for this cuvée.
Domaine Bresee is a bit less known than other big players in the industry but still deserves attention. I found the Bressoc white to be very representative of Québec’s dry wine style and aromas.
Vignoble rivière du Chêne
In 2007, a mean fire destroyed the main building at Rivière du Chêne but with no lack of motivation, they did not let that affect them. The following year, it was already rebuilt bigger, nicer with the ambition to make of the estate, an oenotourism must.
The William white is unoaked while the Phénix have seen some french oak. The Latter is fuller and richer with a better balance, Both are made from a carefully selected blend of many hybrids Varieties.
Their Bubbly, Monde les bulles, is made with the traditional method and has many floral aromas.
Domaine le grand Saint-Charles.
Domaine Grand saint-Charles is the newcomer, the youngest estate. The winery is opened only since 2013 even if many previous years were devoted to planning development and ground work.
Domaine Côtes d’ardoise
The history of Côtes d’ardoise goes a long way. They started out before any artisanal production permits even existed. They were working in complete illegality. It’s their popularity and growing business that forced the authority to look into it and address it. They truly believes that a good red can be done and even experiments whit Vitis Vinifera such as Gamay and Riesling.
Also a very young estate opened in 2013 and was celebrated with a big inauguration. Lano d’or only one white wine and three reds, three elaborated blends and one single variety Frontenac wine. The Owner, Mr. Alain Coutu seems very passionate and just eager to share the results of his work.
A pioneering Quebec vineyard in its field, l’Orpailleur planted its first vines in 1982. Its president, Charles-Henri de Coussergues, also presided the Quebec vintners’ association for 7 years.
“In this land of rock and weeds, hostile in appearance, we have laid our convictions, determination and love of the profession to draw out a beautiful story which we encapsulate in a bottle year in year out, and that improves over time.” Charles-Henri de Coussergues, wine grower
The Ice wine is as gold as it can get with luscious sweetness and cooked stone fruits aromas.
For this Part des anges, the winemaker chooses the most golden grapes from his vineyard and combines their juice with eau-de-vie. This assembly is then transferred to outdoor demi-johns where aging for at least 24 seasons, the mix slowly matures. The container is not sealed and allows for evaporation. The opened container are stocked and aligned on top of the patio and can be seen by visitors. Some grapes are also included at bottling and stays at the bottom of each bottles. It offers very nice nuts and caramel flavours.
I was very pleased to discover this Sparkling wine. It is refreshing with long lasting, creamy bubbles and some toasty aromas.
Union libre were the first to create Fire cider made by the fermentation of heat-concentrated apple must. They like to play with the opposite fire and Ice. Their reputation is well made with Apples, but now they are starting to work with grapes too.
Union libre will be selling from now on a selection of wine like this Seyval Blanc.
Surprisingly, they are also growing Gewurztraminer and soon some Riesling added to the portfolio. The Litchi aromas reminiscent of gewurztraminer was present but very subtle and Rose aromas were stronger.