By: Denise K. Pereira
The 12th of September was the third edition of a home grown initiative declared as the ‘day to savour a Quebec wine’ (je déguste un vin québécois). Quebec’s cold climate means that it is home to many unique varietals not commonly known to most wine drinkers. Many of the grapes may not seem familiar, but that makes it a wonderful opportunity to sample some of the treasures we cultivate in la belle province. Local wines have come a long way and continue to grow and mature. In celebration of the wonderful wines our province has to offer, I have chosen two highly acclaimed wines to showcase. Vive les vins québécois!
L’Orpailleur Blanc 2015
Based in Dunham, L’Orpailleur has been a pioneer in the Quebec wine industry, planting its first vines in 1982 and selling in the SAQ for over 20 years. L’Orpailleur means goldseeker and this winery has repeatedly struck gold, most recently as a Double Gold Laureate at the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. At 60%, the predominant varietal is Vidal, a grape that manages to produce high sugar levels in cold climates and is often used in the making of Icewine. The balance is made up of Seyval Blanc, a hybrid grape suited to cool climates and known for its characteristic citrus elements. This is a light golden coloured wine, where the varietal characteristics shine through with aromas of citrus and white flowers. On the palate, it is light and dry with notes of minerality, pineapple and lime. Available for $16.35 at SAQ locations (#00704221), this award winner can be a great introduction to Quebec whites and would be a perfect alternative for those who enjoy Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris. It also pairs beautifully with pear and arugula salad, grilled shrimp or pesto chicken.
Domaine St-Jacques Sélection Rouge
Located in the South of Montreal in the Montérégie region, Domaine St-Jacques is a family-run business, where the first vines were planted in 1999. Most people will be unfamiliar with the varietals that make up equal parts of this wine, Marechal Foch and Lucie Kuhlmann. Pronounced “mar-esh-shall-fosh”, the former grape was developed in Alsace and produces small, cold resistant fruit. Lucie Kuhlmann is a varietal that produces big, fruity wines that are bold in colour and lower in tannins. On the nose, you will find aromas of cherry, raspberry and spice. A beautiful purple-hued in colour, the wine is medium-bodied and fruity on the palate. Sold for $17.85 at the SAQ (#11506306), this wine is a great example of two Quebec varietals coming together to make a notable local red wine. Try it at your next dinner party paired with roasted rack of pork or veal stew. Denise’s recipe for roasted rack of pork can be found here.
Denise K. Pereira is a sommelier, passionate foodie and owner at Premier Cru oenological consulting. Read more at http://www.premiercru.ca