Quebec wine products are on rise, with 146 artisanal wine production permits registered across the province — 40 per cent of these are white wines, 35 per cent are reds, 16 per cent rosés, 6 per cent sparkling and 3 per cent “other.” The regional wine industry employs over 1,100 people. Over 51 brands of gin are also produced in Quebec, some of them right here in Montreal.
There has been a surprising increase in the quality of Quebec wine and gin in recent years. Here are a few suggestions from our resident sommelier for guaranteed fun, with some inputs for the white wines from his friend and collaborator Max Mckay.
Treasure N°13 Gin
This gin, made in Montreal, takes us on a journey through Quebec nature, its spices, flowers and plants, with 13 ingredients found in the regional ecosystem. What better way to loosen the tongue and whet your appetite? Juniper berry, cherry blossom, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, violet, orange, lime, black pepper, Angelica root and yuzu bring depth, complexity and length on the palate. It’s delicious on ice, with tonic or in this recipe by 2018 mixologist world champion André Duncan:
The weekend cocktail : Melon hat
- 2oz of Montreal Gin Treasure Nᵒ13
- 2oz of milk
- 0.75oz of maple syrup
- 1 generous tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 150gr cantaloupe
Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix on high speed until a smooth mixture is obtained. Serve on ice and sprinkle with ground Jamaican Pepper. Enjoy!
SAQ code 14393669
Domaine Bergeville Le Blanc Brut 2018
Quebec is increasingly excelling in still and sparkling wines. As proof, this Hatley brut sparkling wine has three certifications: Certified Quebec wine (Écocert), organic wine and biodynamic wine (Demeter). It was born from the visionary dream of Ève Rainville and Marc Théberge, fed for 14 years; we truly enjoy complexity and intensity of the aromas. Yellow apple, stone fruit, almond blossom and bread crumbs are characteristics that make it a real sensory experience. The bubble is persistent, its texture is enveloping and it is lively enough to contrast well with fatty food.
Pairings: fish and chips, vegetables or shrimp tempura, proscuitto-melon-honey or parmesan cheese.
Acadie blanc 46%, Frontenac gris 20%, Frontenac blanc 18%, Louise Swenson 16%, Origine Québec BIO, 750 ml, $27.85
SAQ code 13374562
La Cantina Vallée d’Oka Pinot Noir 2018
The Oka region near the majestic Lac des Deux-Montagnes offers us a PGI Quebec wine from the distinctive range of the Rivière du Chêne vineyard. Airy, light, with aromas of black Kirsch cherry, ripe strawberries and raspberries, as well as plum; it is floral and smoky, with peppery notes. Oaky, with supple tannins, it has mineral qualities — turning it in the glass will greatly help to oxygenate it. It’s an easy-drinking safe bet, and their chardonnays and their rosés are also superb (see the additional links below). Be sure to store it in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pairings: cold meats, a grilled pork or veal chop, or an Oka cheese with mushrooms!
SAQ code 13952941
Les Artisans du Terroir Prémices d’Automne 2018: SAQ code 742429
Vignoble de la Bauge Évolution Blanc 2018: SAQ code 14382337
Drink with moderation!
Here is some information about wine labelling, for those who are wondering:
The label IGP VIN DU QUÉBEC represents seven regions defined with identities defined by geological, climatic and soil specificities. The designation “Vin certifié du Québec” (Quebec Certified Wine) is the result of a quality approach undertaken by the Association des vignerons du Québec (AVQ) in 2008, which led to the registration of a certification mark at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO).
Another designation, according to La Boîte à vins: when a wine from Quebec is labelled organic, it means that it meets the quality control standards of EcoCert Canada or Québec Vrai. This organization ensures that the product corresponds to the principles of organic farming, both in the vineyard and during its development. If this is the case, the wine will receive its organic certification. An “organic” wine is a wine without pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. The vine is grown without chemicals. Also, sulfites are generally less present, but not necessarily absent.
For more Montreal food and drink coverage and criticism, please visit the Food & Drink section.