Visiting Quebec Wineries

Today we are leaving the beautiful province of Quebec where we have spent a week visiting wineries and cideries from Quebec City to Montreal. It’s a bittersweet leaving as we have enjoyed meeting so many passionate winemakers.

We have also met and become friends of the In Vino Veritas Travel Agency owners as well as their social media expert working for In Vino Veritas. For our three day visit of wineries in Croatia earlier this year In Vino Veritas planned our trip that included car rental, several wineries and lodging at three different wineries/vineyards. Everything was very easy when someone else has planned the itinerary.

In Vino Veritas also planned our trip to Quebec, where we learned about Quebec’s wine history and we visited 20 wineries including the cideries.

Quebec is a growing wine region and it’s microclimates provided the opportunity for many cold hardy varieties to grow as well as some vineyards using special techniques to grow some of the world’s popular vinifera grapes.

If you are planning to visit Quebec for a vacation or holiday, stop by some of the wineries to discover what they have to offer you.

Cheers! Kathy

Jade Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Price: $9.99 at Macy's Liquors
Recommended by:
Wine tasting at store

Comments:
This is an exceptional wine for the price. It is a big, bold cabernet with delicious, round flavors of blueberry, cinnamon, vanilla, and chocolate. The nose is equally bold. In fact, nothing is subtle about this one. Plus, the flavors last in a long finish that suggests you are drinking a $25 bottle of wine. We will be getting a few more bottles of this one soon!

Rating:
8/10

Jade Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Price: $9.99 at Macy's Liquors
Recommended by:
Wine tasting at store

Comments:
This is an exceptional wine for the price. It is a big, bold cabernet with delicious, round flavors of blueberry, cinnamon, vanilla, and chocolate. The nose is equally bold. In fact, nothing is subtle about this one. Plus, the flavors last in a long finish that suggests you are drinking a $25 bottle of wine. We will be getting a few more bottles of this one soon!

Rating:
8/10

Michel Leon Gewurztraminer 2008

Price: $11.99 at Trader Joe's
Recommended by: We're fans of Gewurztraminers
Comments: We've been drinking more Chardonnay lately. Why, since other white varietals are so good? Particularly Gewurztraminer, and this one reminded us why we're such big fans. Michel Leon is fairly dry, but with some really nice fruit. It has some floral notes and a bit of spice. It was a perfect complement to the Indian food we had for dinner, and we look forward to having this wine again. Chardonnay, as we noted some years ago, kinda sucks (OK, OK ... with the exception of a few).
Rating: 7.5/10

Michel Leon Gewurztraminer 2008

Price: $11.99 at Trader Joe's
Recommended by: We're fans of Gewurztraminers
Comments: We've been drinking more Chardonnay lately. Why, since other white varietals are so good? Particularly Gewurztraminer, and this one reminded us why we're such big fans. Michel Leon is fairly dry, but with some really nice fruit. It has some floral notes and a bit of spice. It was a perfect complement to the Indian food we had for dinner, and we look forward to having this wine again. Chardonnay, as we noted some years ago, kinda sucks (OK, OK ... with the exception of a few).
Rating: 7.5/10

J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay 2006

Price: $15.95 @ Macy's (W. Roxbury, MA)
Recommended by: Curiosity
Comments: We don't drink a lot of Chardonnay, and when we do, we typically talk about how much we don't like it. But lately, we've been trying more and enjoying it (at least the oaky ones). This wine exhibited some of the traits we've been looking for lately. It is rich, smooth, and oaked. The nose is apple, lime, and pineapple. The flavor is dominated by apple and caramel with a little spice and a long smooth finish. If we're in the mood for an oaky chardonnay in the future, this is one we'll seriously consider (along with the Matua Judd Estate).
Rating: 7/10

Pairing Wine with Brodetto

One dish we've been really enjoying lately is brodetto, a seafood stew native of Italy. The Italian version is called Brodetto di Pesce, but since we cannot use ingredients from the Adriatic Sea, we've enjoyed our own New England version. The broth is a delicious blend of tomatoes, onions, seafood broth, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, wine, garlic, saffron, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Throw in some little neck clams, fresh mussels, and a white fish (halibut is great), and serve with fresh bread, and you have an amazing dinner.

So, what wine do enjoy with this delicious dish? The authentic Italian version screams for a dry Verdicchio, which is produced in the Marches region of Italy, where Brodetto di Pesce is one of the most popular dishes. The French Marsanne is also another great pairing with brodetto. Marsanne is often blended with Viognier, which would also be an excellent choice to enjoy with the dish. You can't go wrong with a nice American Chardonnay, and we've even enjoyed a nice, floral Chilean Carmenere Blanc (Viña Tierra y Fuego).

The one wine we highly recommend is a Dry Riesling, particularly Chateau Ste Michelle's. They're a bit citrusy with a nice spice. We think you'll love it with brodetto, particularly if you're looking for something other than a Chardonnay.

Rietvallei Estate "John B." Sauvignon Blanc/Colombar 2008

Price: $9.99 @ Wine Gallery, Brookline
Recommended by:
Saleswoman
Comments: This South African blend (60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Colombar) is a nice, basic wine. Floral aromas meet the nose. The taste is dominated by a strong, crisp lemon flavor. We don't like it as much as we do the New Zealand (Marlborough) Sauvignon Blancs we often drink, but it is enjoyable and went well with
the sushi we had for dinner.
Rating: 6.25/10

Chateau Ste Michelle Cold Creek Merlot 1999

Price: about $25
Recommended by:
the wonderful folks at Chateau Ste Michelle winery, Woodinville, WA (go visit!)

Comments:
What an evening! We polished off a bottle of white Italian Vermentino (Rocca di Montemassi) while making a fabulous batch of mushroom risotto. The wine was exceptional, but we can't blog about it because we finished it so damn quickly! With the actual risotto (did we mention it was amazing?!?) we drank this Merlot, which is quite dear to us. Back in September 2007, we visited the winery and purchased this bottle for a special occasion. Rob has been hard at work for the past few weeks, finishing up his first book, and while it's not quite done yet we're celebrating the near end of many years of hard work. This wine was an appropriate celebratory libation. Wine Spectator gave it 90 points back in the day, and it's only gotten better with time. Rich, earthy flavors dominated by plum, vanilla, and mocha, with hints of chocolate. YUM! We wish we had another bottle!
Rating:
8/10

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Shiraz 2006

Price: $15.99 @ Vinnin Square Liquors (Swampscott, MA)
Recommended by: Wine Spectator gave this a 91
Comments: We do not usually buy a Shiraz that's over, say, $12, but this one was worth the extra couple of dollars. It is very smooth, with flavors of black cherry, plum, vanilla, and chocolate. It is a tad high in alcohol (15%), but you couldn't tell in the flavor. If you want to move past your basic Shiraz, this is a great one to consider. We think it's the best one we've had (perhaps even better than Wolf Blass Gold Label).
Rating:
8/10

Bodegas Tomas Cusine El Vilosell 2005

Price: $15.99 @ Vinnin Square Liquors (Swampscott, MA)
Recommended by:
salesman at store

Comments:
This is a really good Spanish blend. It is 50% Tempranillo, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Garnacha, and 5% Syrah aged for 9 months in new French oak. It has a nice taste of pepper, cherry, and some blueberry. The flavor is long-lasting and the wine is quite smooth. The only drawback is the price. The wine is good, but we've had a lot of good Spanish wines in the $10 range. Spanish wines are a great bargain in general. Perhaps we would get this wine again for a special occasion, but we wouldn't have it again with pizza!

Rating:
7/10

Mahi Twin Valleys Gewurztraminer 2006

Price: $22.49 @ Blanchards
Recommended by:
Our love of the Gewurztraminer grape

Comments:
This is the first Gewurztraminer we have tried from New Zealand. We love the Sauvignon Blancs from the Marlborough region and were eager to give this wine a chance. Like the other wines we have tried from this region, Mahi is bold. Not much subtle here. However, it wasn't so much citrusy as it was flowery. It had a really strong rose flavor. I almost didn't believe Rob when he took his first sip and said, "rose petal." I thought he pulled that out his rear end. But it is indeed very rosy. If you're not into flowery wines, we would skip this one. You can taste the spicy side of this wine when pairing it with spicy food (it went well with the ethnic spices we rubbed on the swordfish). Otherwise, it's mainly rosy with a bit of citrus. We probably won't buy this one again, especially given the price. We'll take our Chateau Ste Michelle over this any day.

Rating:
6.5/10

Stephen Vincent Crimson 2005

Price: $11.99 @ Blanchard's (J.P.)
Recommended by: store advertisement
Comments:
We're generally fans of domestic red blends, and this wine's blend of Syrah (75%) and Cabernet (25%) was too enticing to pass up . . . especially after drinking two orders of sake with dinner. :) It was a good call. This wine started out very fruity (mostly cherry and plum) and peppery with a strong alcohol flavor (it IS 14.5% alcohol after all). It closed with a smooth cinnamon and licorice finish. Nice. It's worth noting that this wine got better as we drank it. Next time we might decant it for a bit before partaking. However, having finished the bottle, we have no regrets and feel no pain. Cheers.

Rating:
7.25/10

Dona Paula Shiraz-Malbec 2006

Price: $12.99
Recommended by: gift from Mike
Comments:
We were delighted when our friend Mike brought this wine over, but we chose poorly when we ordered Chinese food to accompany it. The Chinese food was great, the wine was great, but the pairing didn't quite work. This wine, with 60% Shiraz and 40% Malbec, will go better with other foods, particularly grilled meats. It has a nice, earthy, cherry flavor with hints of cocoa and tobacco, and it exhibits a long smooth, happy finish. For the price, this is a great wine, and we look forward to trying it again soon!

Rating
: 7.5/10

MÄHLER-BESSE Jumilla Taja Reserva 2003

Price: $10.99 @ Gary's Liquors, W. Roxbury, MA
Recommended by: 90 points by Wine Spectator
Comments: We have been drinking mostly whites this summer, but decided to switch to red tonight. We normally enjoy Spanish red blends, and this one is no exception. It was very good! It is a blend of 50% Monastrell (Mourvèdre), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Tempranillo, and 10% Merlot. It is a dry wine but has a nice, bold fruity flavor; the variety of grapes integrate with the tannins quite nicely. We would really enjoy this with pizza!

Rating:
7/10

Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Price: $10.99
Recommended by:
manager's selection at Macy's Liquors (W. Roxbury, MA)

Comments:
We usually drink Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand (and some from Napa) and love them, but this wine will force us to think about other regions. Petit Bourgeois is a bright, tangy wine that has no shortage of flavor, yet finishes very smooth. Flavors of pineapple loom large along with a pleasant, forward grassiness. It was a great complement to our yummy veggie sandwiches on a hot summer day. Not our favorite, but we would buy this again.

Rating:
7.5/10

Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Stellenbosch 2007

Price: $9.99 @ Gary's Liquors (W. Roxbury, MA)
Recommended by:
Boston Globe
Comments: This wine was listed in the Boston Globe as one of the best wines you can find for under $10. We agree! It is similar to Gruner Veltliner on the nose but exhibits flavors of both Gewurztraminer (spice) and Sauvignon Blanc (fruit) on the palate. Flavors of lime are most present, tempered with a buttery smoothness and a nice spicy finish. We had it with sushi (surprise!) and it was a fantastic pairing. It went particularly well with the sweetness of the unagi (eel). We'll be looking forward to this one again soon.
Rating: 7.5/10

Chateau Bianca Gewurztraminer 2006

Price: $13.99 @ liquor store in Porter Square
Recommended by: just a domestic Gewurz we have not tried
Comments: We were not impressed by this. It doesn't even really taste like a Gewurz. There is no real exotic spice flavor that you would expect; instead it's a bouquet of flowers. A strong bouquet. There are also subtle flavors of pineapple, lime, and honey, but it's mostly a bouquet. Not terrible, but not our favorite, and we won't likely be picking this one up again soon.
Rating: 5.5/10

Hogue Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Price: ~$15.00
Recommended by:
This was a gift, but we've had this on our wish list for a while. We think it was recommended by Sunset Magazine.

Comments:
Yum. It was yum from the first sniff. Very flowery on the nose and the palate. We also smelled Fruit Loops (honest!) and tasted plum, cherry, and oak. The flavor lasted a long time, and the finish was very smooth. Lots of flavors going on in this wine. It's rather different from the California (in-yer-face-with-fruit) Cabs, but this was excellent. We're becoming huge fans of Washington State wines.

Ratings:
7.75/10