July 19, 2011

vineyards in the North, oddity in the system

Recently I have been witnessing some weird shit. One of the ingredients written on the side of a box of salt was..sugar. Or something like low sodium chicken stock! Every classic text for chicken stock will teach you that there should never be...sodium. Imitation crab? Banks? Just a few things recently that are odd and unnecessary. I found myself at Domaine Les Brome. A québecois winery. Some people say that a québecois winery should not exist, that it is in fact abnormal, an oddity in the system. We stood upon a tiny hill overlooking the vineyard and beyond a vast expanse of lakewater beckoning. Everything looked, well, pretty normal.

Inside we are told about the wide variety of cépages they grow...Vidal, Geisenheim, Seyval Blanc, Seyval noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, St-Pépin, Maréchal Foch, De Chaunac, Pinot noir, Baco noir et Cabernet Franc. Impressive. And the wine?

vidal 2008 with its faint hints of litchee, white flowers and honey, and slightly peppery is fast becoming the Quebec grape varietal.

Cuvée Charlotte, a mix of Geisenheim, Seyval and Chardonnay, lemony, slightly woody, mineral. The freshness of acidic pears, pretty good with raw scallops.

Riesling, half which is aged in oak, 2009, very light, pears on the nose, honey but maybe still a little young. Too light.

Rosé péché...of hybrids of Seyval Noir and Maréchal Foch, saignée with its nose of cassis and strawberry with a dry snap to the taste we saw this perfectly with smoked duck.

Rosé Détente...fruity, easy. Think, a well made wine cooler.

There are so many more that we tasted. Baco. De Chaunac etc...But we agreed that the better ones to serve at Renard artisan bistro were the rosés which had that freshness of the season, short as it is in hand. The industry is still young, searching, creative, crazy...which is what the creative process is about but not necessarily for those who find comfort in a bottle of France or Italy, although having drank in many a bottega.....

I began wondering if it is really strange for Québec to attempt to have vineyards. Ok, let us get over the initial elitist attitude and we accept that there will never be amazing Québec wines. Granted, most of us can perhaps agree on that. Once we also rid ourselves of a sort of 'global' mercantile approach we can maybe witness the birth of something different, more like a great expressive folk song as opposed to a universally acclaimed play, both intense nevertheless. I mean imagine Finland with vineyards.....and yet....some things are really even stranger if you pay attention.

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