Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Friday, September 16, 2011

September 9th Day Ten: In The Laurentians----Last Working Day In Quebec!

The Beginning Of The Last Day!
I woke up early---too early but knew that this was the last day. Pierre who had stayed over was going with us but not staying over as he was to meet some other journalists later that evening. Pierre was the king of guy that you immediately developed a nice rapport with. He was humourous, flexible and organized. Pierre was also very sensitive to the needs of a film crew. He really appeared to be enjoying his work with us and of course we loved having him around.
We were soon off to our first visit of the day which was an interview and tour with Jean Pierre Belisle
Vignoble la Roche des Brises
We drove to the above winery and were met by Mr. Jean Pierre Belisle. He introduced himself and when I asked him of his occupation he retorted "Wait and try to guess! I will tell you later! But first, I will ask you what you think I am!"
That is how the relationship between JP as he asked me to call him and me started. I knew immediately that JP was no man's fool and his calm appearance hid a strong aggressiveness that was both competitive and yet methodically intelligent.
The man took us to his vineyards where he had been experimenting with a computerized weather/seasonal warning system which home base was in Austria. This system warns of temperature fluctuations and potential harms allowing vineyards to begin preparing for such things as frost. With wires 30. 60 and 90 centimetres above and below ground, temperatures can be closely monitored thus giving data to the main computer in Austria. Compared to the wind turbines that circulate the air above the vineyards, the twenty five thousand dollars for installation the wine turbines are far more expensive. There was only one occasion to use the computer so far but it worked and worked well.
JP took us and showed us his remarkable vineyards in top shape and full to the brim with clusters of grapes. "Look at these grapes!" he said with a passion that was infectious, "They prove that I am on the right track. Why spend a fortune when one only needs to use this technology!" I could not disagree. Results show! We then went to his wine boutique and tasting area to sample his wines. We started with his whites.
Fourigole: Made from Giesenheim 318 grapes nice apple and citrus with a refreshing acidity. Winner Gold "Coupe Des Nations".
Maribriand: Made from Marechal Foch and Lucy Kulhman. Nice red with strawberry/field berries. Integrated with nice acidity. Long finish. Gold medal winner.
Ste-Croix: Made from 100% Ste-Croix grapes. Toasted oak and cherry flavours with smoke and pepper spice. Gold cup winner.
Rosee du Matin: Made with Marechal Foch and Ste-Croix. Strawberry/Raspberry flavours with a touch of sweetness.
Derniere Danse: Made with Geisenheim 318 fortified with alcohol. A nice aperitif with appricot and peach flavours with secondary apple and pear. Gold Medal Winner.
Ete Indien: Made with Marechal Foch and Lucy Kulhman. A port style wine that is fortified with alcohol nutty and full of ripe dark and red fruit. Figs and chocolate. Gold Medal Winner.
Vignole Vents d'Ange
We went to visit our last winery called Vents d'Ange and owned by Andre Lauzon. Andre is an innovator as are many of the Quebec wineries. He believes in natural only and does organic farming. He also uses grapes not normally used in wine making such as the table grapes Montreal Blues.
In some of his wines he uses a blend of 70% Montreal Blues and 30% St. Croix. In another he makes a Rose of 100% Montreal Blues and yet in another he uses virtual unknowns Kay Gray and Prairie Star in a 50% blend. Yet in others he uses the 100% Kay Gray---such as in his Ice wine.
Andre had a long discussion with me over good coffee and explained that his passion is from the heart as compared to his pocket book. I wish him well.
A Meeting Of The Bees At Intermiel
Pierre Bessette took us to a Mead Winery in an impromptu venture. What resulted was an amazing experience with me interviewing a fully clothed Bee Keeper while I was still in short sleeves and light clothing. The company makes honey wine and even has a distillery to make liqueur type honey products. The result is a luscious drink that comes in a variety of taste levels.
The company also produces Royal Jelly, bees wax, Apiflore, natural honey and honey products.
The owners Christian, Eleonore and Viviane Macle are a family operation.
Look them up and if you have a chance---go there.
Adieu Quebec
With this ended our visit to Quebec. The next day we would be heading to the airport and fly from Pierre Elliott Trudeau to Toronto Pearson. I would certainly suggest that you visit and try a first hand visit to the wineries in these great wine regions. Some use grape varieties not known or should I say not used in Ontario or some other areas but a good wine is a good wine. In addition, the people, the scenery the diversity, the cuisine, the encounters, the fun and the relaxation as well as the history, the geography, the science and the culture all are part of one great province. Quebec.