Blog posts about wineries I’ve visited and winemakers I’ve met

Mes premières vendanges à Prince Edward County

My first harvest experience in Prince Edward County

My first harvest experience in Prince Edward County

Grange of Prince Edward

The great fireplace at Grange of Prince Edward

Spring has sprung, so why not write a post about what I did last fall? It’ll help to prepare the new season of course!

Camping season of course, as it is for my family and me a great way to explore lots of new places and to meet the most wonderful people around. But camping is also a way for me to hit the wineries that are on our vacation path, from this new season to the upcoming harvest.

I’ve been a winelover for quite some years now and I like to visit or re-visit with my family and friends some wineries we liked over the years. But one thing I didn’t did before was participate to grape picking during harvest.

I tried to be able to attend some picking activities in my home closer reach, but I wasn’t able to do so as rain mainly got in the way. The next place to try was then the beloved Prince Edward County! Located in South-East Ontario, a 4 hour drive from Montréal area, this was the place we’re we’ll have our first harvest experience. A great way to end a camping season too!

Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards & Estate Winery

There again rain played us all, as we were supposed to go at first at Grange of Prince Edward to pick up Gamay grapes, a real dream to me, one of the biggest fan of that grape! This didn’t stopped our host to gladly welcome all attendees who were there to give a hand during that harvest season.

Grange of Prince Edward Select wines

Grange of Prince Edward – Some of the Select range wines

The humble and really kind Maggie, of the mother-daughter winemaking team, still managed to taste through recently released wines of the “Select” range. From a more structured Pinot Noir to a bright an enjoyable Gamay (amongst my favorite there), then a Riesling just lively enough and a round and fruity Chardonnay wine.

Then we had the privilege to get serve a well comforting meal, paired with the wines we tasted. It was really enjoyed!

Bad weather did got away so we could walk in the vineyard and watch freshly picked Riesling grapes being crushed to produce what’ll become wine!

To taste such freshly pressed juice do help to see what the wine will be, help understanding how a basic product will become wine and what the winemakers have to work with.

Grange of Prince Edward

Freshly presed Riesling juice

All the explanations we received showed us how much work it is to farm vines, from all season long task to prepping them to survive winter. They do at Grange what most of the area wineries do, they select the best branches they can to did them down, putting soil over them to protect them against frost damage. This is so demanding! But every minute they spend working in the vineyard is worth it to allow them to make such great wines, despite all the challenges a cool climate environment can bring to them.

This was a great day, spent with amazing people, but still, something was missing. We wanted to pick up grapes!

Vue sur les vignes chez Grange of Prince Edward

Vineyard view at Grange of Prince Edward

Norman Hardie Winery

That the moment when a plan B came out. The following day, Norman Hardie was hosting a “Harvest Experience” day at his winery. This fell in at the right time, especially as this place is also amongst my favorite in Prince Edward County! This is where we would be harvesting rapes for the first time.

Norman Hardie - Vignes de Pinot Noir

Norman Hardie – Pinot Noir vines

It is a really romantic moment to look a fruit loaded vines, bathed in a warm sunlight from a beautiful fall day.

As it is always, this is a welcoming and generous place. From the morning they were prepping the day to help this moment be a success. Nice welcome, coffee was placed in our hands to help us out wake up a little. On one side a whole pork was slowly cooking over a fire and on the other side, the pizza oven was firing as the first pie were getting cooked. We couldn’t be happier, as our smiles showed, as we knew that this would be a great day!

Then we received our instructions; we would be picking Pinot Noir grapes, a second pass in the vines as riper fruit were already picked. The 30 volunteers jumped into the vines to get those beautiful grape bunches!

Even if we were not really used to this, it never lowered our excitement and fun! Even the kids enjoyed it more than we did anticipate.

Norman Hardie - Activité familiale

Our kids helping!

Lunch break was filled with amazing pizzas, as they always are, all that under the prettiest sun we could’ve wished for. As soon as we were over, we jumped back at our tasks looking to pick grapes in the close-by main building vineyard.

Our goal to be part of a harvest experience was to dig in, not to overview a process made by others. Mission accomplished!

Norman Hardie - Fruits de la récolte

The fruit we picked that day

We did managed to pick up enough fruit that day to produce up to 150 cases of wine! We were told that the Pinot Noir fruits would make a rosé, soon to be available (2017 summer). Can’t wait to have a glass of this wine (or a few bottles!)! Having the feeling of doing something in the winemaking process of a wine, even if it’s a lower role we played is kinda cool.

Then came the awaited lunch where we had the whole roasted pork that fulfilled our needs. Of course we did enjoyed some wine, especially the newly release at that time Gamay from Norman Hardie!

While being at the winery, we did taste the whole range of available and upcoming wines. We couldn’t have done less!

Taste many of Norman Hardie’s wine requires focus, but also notes! There was quite a lot, but it was so enjoyable as always! This is anyway, one of the main reason I visit wineries…

Most of the wines are single varieties and usually are from both region Norman Hardie is working with; Prince Edward County and Niagara. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, then the blends of whites (regions and varieties), the special ones (Cuvée des Amis was the best of them!), a rosé and of course then Gamay we enjoyed earlier.

Another to a beautiful stay inPrince Edward County

Happy, pleased, all smiling, this is how another stay in this amazing region has ended again. We love Prince Edward County!

We’ll be back for another harvest experience, but also long before that period as we like the place so much!

Prince Edward County

Thanks again Prince Edward County for being so enjoyable and welcoming!

Pearl Morissette

Pearl Morissette and their living wines

Pearl Morissette and their living wines

Rain, in January, this is so crazy! But it could be worse, cause I see something good coming. I had the privilege, on that grey day, to meet at the vineyard François Morissette. François is the man behing the wines of Pearl Morissette, pioneer in living wines making in Niagara.

Pearl Morissette - fûts alsacien

François uses many types of containers as these old cask from Alsace

I had many times Pearl Morissette wines in my glass. Following my passion, I want to meet the person behind the wine I’m having and I want to meet them. I know that after these meetings the wines taste sometimes even better as I understand them differently cause I can get the vision that led to them and why they were made that way.

I first saw François at the Raspipav event, a wine show on private import products in Montréal. I promised him that I would come by the winery and visit him. I was there, on his field of work and he’s making all these wine come true. I wanted Pearl Morissette living wines!

Visit of the winery, with the Winemaker

While drinking François words, his vision came to me; his desire to make good wine while not interfering with this ‘natural’ evolution. He uses many types of container to age his wines, but all in a way to let the soil, the vines and finally the wines to express themselves.

Understanding the climate, the soil, the vines then the resulting wines are not an easy task. Many experiences were made and makers were identified from vintage to vintage, then creativity could be expressed properly without endangering the results. Science does have its role here and that’s what creates those useful markers or requiered data to monitor the wines as they evolve to become the wines that we’ll drink. That’s why he can make wines that are clean while vibrant and alive while not shadowing the their true originality.

Pearl Morissette - Cuve de béton en forme d'oeuf

Pearl Morissette – Custom made egg shape concrete tank

One thing is clear for François is that any kind of intervention, even when you don’t, have effects on the final product. He don’t beleive then in the “let everything go natural wine” principle. The primary matter is transformed and shaped by these decisions and manipulations. That’s why understanding the results of any actions made on the wine, as minimalist they are, is critical as it can overcome his vision on how he want his wines to be… That’s exactly why he doesn’t like the “natural” wine thing as it doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t offer the warranty that the fruit itself will be good prior to the winemaking process.

His experience acquiered while working at the best wineries of Burgundy is then useful. This allows him to master the classical grape varieties with which he’s working while still being creative.

Under the charm of the place, the man and the wines!

To face the rising demand for his wines, the risk coming from the weather and the various conditions of each vintage, he buys grapes from other producers of the area. He makes sure to get fruits that are farmed with the same vision as his, on how they’re growned and how the vines are taken care of.

While touring the place and talking, we did taste many wines, all from the 2015 and 2016 vintages that are still under ageing process. We had both wines from his vineyards and from bought fruits. Sample were took of stainless tanks, egg shaped and regular concrete tanks, then from barrels of different ages and even from old Alsacian casks of 50 years+ !

Pearl Morissette - vin orange

Their orange wine!

We had Rieslings made dry so vibrant, refreshing and so deep (especially the Cuvée Black Ball – see the story between him and the VQA system behind this wine). Then very fine Pinot Noir and even a “en primeur” fruit foward one made to drink young and on its primary fruit profile. Impressive Chardonnays with amazing texture, having the core to support oak ageing, Cabernet Franc so tasty and Gamay wines that have everythin to please the writer of these lines. Not to forget or let behind is their orange wine made of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling that spent 3 months on the skin. To end that tasting, a “Solera” type of wine from a cask that see it filled with remaining juice François have or from what’s left in barrels after bottleing. This wine, made from all type of grapes is blended with juice going back to the 2008 vintage, is so complex and stunning. This one is François’s study coming from his appreciation of Xeres wine. We can only hope that it’ll be bottled one day…

I was so pleased with this visit and tasting.

Can’t wait to be back there to meet again that epressive, creative and such a nice man. It would also be a great opportunity to visit all the installation as they have all kind of animal on their farm and this place is just so beautiful that just looking at it will make the next visit worthy.

I also can’t wait to talk about his other project, a vineyard he’s working on in Calfornia in the Sonoma valley! But this is another story / blog post. If you’re interested of learning more on these new wines, you can still order them through the Courrier Vinicole from the SAQ

Pearl Morissette’s website :

They are represented in Québec by La QV :

Now, what are we drinking?

Pearl Morissette

Hidden Bench

Visit at Hidden Bench

Visit at Hidden Bench

Back from a “day job” assignment in Niagara region and having some free time ahead. Why not stop and visit a winery since I couldn’t be in a better place for that, especially at that moment, a beautiful and sunny day! With the goal of trying a new place, I reached a friend who knows his way around and he comes back to me with this suggestion: Hidden Bench.

Located in the Lincoln / Beamsville area, the place is charming, pretty and surrounded with peach tree. With Pinot Noir vines all around, the stone and wood building of the winery are also giving that welcoming and warm feeling.

Hidden Bench

And it does not stop there, despice the work that is going on there (it will be even prettier this summer or shoud be by now, since the welcome also came from the people there. It followed with a discussion with Mike for what type of tasting I was aiming at (I described him my wine tastes and he selected perfect matching wines!), and then I had to work!

Having about 100 acres of lad, close to 84 have vines on it. The first ones were planted in 1977 which is pretty soon for this young wine region. They have many grapes varieties as the classic Pinot Noir (about half the production here) and Chardonnay, Riesling often good coming from the area and even Bordeau type vines inluding Malbec of which they are the largest producer of Ontario.

Hidden Bench Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir vines

And now, what about the wines? Here is my notes on what I have tasted there:

Hidden Bench Riesling Roman's Block Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Roman’s Block Riesling Beamsville Bench VQA 2013 

When I said what type of Riesling I like, Mike proposed me this one, made of the older vines of the house. Nose and palate of green apples, lime, good minerality and somehow rich, but balanced with a tangy acidity and slightly bitter which makes me like the wine even more. And the finish is so long!

Lorsque j’ai décrit ce que j’aime d’un Riesling, Mike m’a proposé ce vin, tiré de vignes parmi les plus vieilles du domaine. Arômes et saveurs de pommes vertes, de lime, bWhenien minéral avec une certaine richesse, mais c’est surtout cette acidité légèrement amère, surette que j’aime tant qui me fait apprécier ce vin. Et que dire de la longue finale!

Does have 10g of residual sugar and an alcohol level of 11%. It’s a beautiful crafted wine, so tasty. Sold only at the Winery.

Hidden Bench Chardonnay Estate Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Chardonnay “Estate” Beamsville Bench VQA 2013 

Typical cool climate Chardonnay feel with a well balance oak and pear, butter notes, quite complex, especially on the palate without being heavy or overly deep.

Aged 10 months in oak barrels and an alcohol level of 13%

Available at the SAQ for 31,25$ (Code SAQ : 12583047)

Hidden Bench Pinot Noir Estate Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir “Estate” Non Filtré / Unfiltered Beamsville Bench VQA 2013 

This smelled so good! Perfumed, fresh, pure, loaded of small red berry notes on the nose, then a fruit explosion on the palate and mineral layers. Then the spices kicks in as long with wild berries and a light bitterness on the finish that gives even more satisfaction with this wine.

Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 20% being new. Alcohol level of 12,7%

Available at the SAQ for 35,25$ (Code SAQ : 12582984)

Hidden Bench Terroir Caché Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Terroir Caché Beamsville Bench VQA 2012 

And then came this Bordeau blend type wine. Deep color with smoke and spices coming from the Merlot grape as it is for a good proportion in the blend. Aromas and flavors of black berries, coffee, noble greens (when it is balanced like that, I find that it adds to the wine instead of ruining it…). Mouth coating with a very long finish. Might feel of seems too wide of overwhelming, but it’s so young! This should age even if is approchable with some air.

Made of Merlot (46%), Cabernet Franc (25%), Cabernet-Sauvignon (16%) and Malbec (13%). Aed 21 months in aok barrels. Alcohol level of 13,9%

The 2011 vintage is available at the SAQ for 39,50$ (Code SAQ : 12306411)

Did I liked it? Of course! Don’t be surprise as I will post more notes on wines from Hidden Bench in the following months. I even hope that I’ll have the opportunity to go back visit the winery in a futur trip in Niagara. Do the same!

Thanks again to Sean for the suggestion and Mike for the tasting, his precise choices regarding my tastes and the time he took explaining me how things are at Hidden Bench.

One more flower for the type of glasses they use, Spiegelau Pure series, even for the water glass and that each tasting station have its own spittoon. It makes the experience even better with this additions.

Hidden Bench website:

Maitre de Chai is the agency representing Hidden Bench in Québec:

Hidden Bench

Visite à PEC – Hinterland

PEC vineyard visit – Hinterland

PEC vineyard visit – Hinterland

For our camping trip we did only plan two vineyard visits, because a a family trip can’t only be done to satisfy one’s passion. But a bottle of Whitecap, a Charmat (bubbly wine made the same way as Italian Prossecco) from the recent 2015 vintage coming directly from the vineyard and brought by a friend, bottle that we had the first night by the fire. That bottle went down so fast without being able to explain why, that a visit at Hinterland became a necessity… to buy more of that wine!

With my friend suggestions and recommandations in hands, we met Jonas Newman and his wife, both owners and founders of the winery and the Brewery located just aside, County Road Beer. Both were smiling, welcoming and clearly passionnate about what they do (one just have to listen to them or to see Vicky passing by, stopping when she sees what we were having, pouring herself a glass, then going back to where she was heading to…) to fully understand!

Then we discussed about wine in general and wines coming from Hinterland, of where our interest for their products came from. Jonas explain that he passed few years learning, studying and working perfecting ways to make sparkling wines. No way he would have ended up making sparkling wines without cleary be into it! After all, as Jonas said, being an engineer or an architect doesn’t make you a winemaker…

When we talked about the Ontario VQA system, he said that in a way he’s lucky since sparkling wines are more into standards and easier to be approved by the board. Not always the same results for other types of wines or products, as his sparkling cider is and the chances are quite low for this one to be certified…

Here is quick notes on what we did taste:

First, the 2015 Borealis, a pink Charmat, then the Ancestral, a traditionnal method wine, pink also, both having red berry notes, very fresh. I liked the last one just a touch more than the other. Then Les Étoiles 2009 (so lucky am I to have some in the cellar!) and the 2012, blends of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, aged up to 26 months before being disgorged, deep and complex, creamy mouth feel, the 2009 being even better due to the additionnal age of the wine, adding more complex notes and finesse.

From the products to be release, we tasted the 2011 Sacrement, clearly the best wine we had there, close to a Champagne. So complex, round, charming and was drinking very well. The minute it’s released, I’ll jump on it.

Then the sparkling cider with an unbelievable nose and perfeclty refreshing, a Gamay from bought grapes from Niagara (there is a whole story about this one…) and a fuly concentrated but typical Syrah wine.


Since I already have some of their wines at home and that our visit goal was to purchase more of the Whitecap, that’s what we did! Especially since it’s not going to be sold at LCBO’c stores for that vintage. We were satisfied with that tasting, but it was not going to stop there…

County Road Beer

When we asked if we could also buy beers from County Road Beer, we ended up with a “no” ! We had to taste first!

We did then take to time to taste the range they are offering to make better chioces based on our taste. We ended up buying 3 differents beers!

County Road Beer

Our kids liked the plae as we did, for the open spaces behind the winery buildings where they were able to run and play, with chicken all around! Our tasting was then just more smooth and pleasant. A new beer garden is also opening pretty soon for the complimentary lunch!

We will be back for sure!

Visite à PEC – Hinterland

Hinterland Wine Company

Visite à PEC mai 2016 - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

PEC vineyard visit may 2016 – Grange of Prince Edward

PEC vineyard visit may 2016 – Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

We are finallly back in this beautiful place in the County. It’s beautiful outside, the sun slowly taking away the cool spring feel to a warmer and appreciated weather. Nature is blooming with the leafs opening up on the vines, the cherry tree showing its flowers and the place is looking exactly the same as last year at our first visit here.

Since a little more than a year now, I’ve been enjoying wine from this Estate located in the beautiful region of Prince Edward County in Ontario. I also had the opportunity to meet Maggie, the winemaker, a few time at local events and to talk about the wine she’s making and the vision behind them, giving these wines their style.

Now entering the main building, a 200 years old barn, all made from wood and still supported by its original rock foundation. Did I say that I like this place? We then head to the tasting bar to tour their recent wine release available here or at the LCBO and for some of them through private import here in Québec. The kind and friendly Duarte will drive our tasting with punctual precisions brought by Maggie.

Visite à PEC mai 2016 - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

The fireplace in the main room

The wines:

Visite à PEC - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Winery

Unoaked Chardonnay 2012, VQA Prince Edward County
Light yeast note on the nose, then it’s pure fruit that shows up, with minerality and a round mouthfeel so inviting that a sip calls for an other one to quench our thirst.

Visite à PEC - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Winery

Riesling Estate 2013, VQA Prince Edward County
Typical Riesling aromas on the nose. Flavors of spicy fruits, lime, litchi,a touch of citrus fruit with a bitting and slightly bitter acidity on the finish, quite long for this level of wine – I like that!

Riesling Select 2014, VQA Prince Edward County (pulled out of the tank for this tasting)

Tart fruit flavors, more round, the minerality of the wine really shows more and I can’t get out of my head the likeness with the Sweetarts candy (tart and acidic hard candy)

Visite à PEC - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Winery

Gamay Select 2011, VQA Prince Edward County
I especially like the Gamay from this Estate and this one is on par with that appreciation! Nose and palate of red berries, earth, a mineral and rocky feel with a good acidity level. We had a bottle there at lunch, ouside infront of the vineyard, plus with brought some home with us!

Bunny Label Blend 2012, VQA Prince Edward County
This wine feels like a warm strawberry field under the sun, it’s good, juicy and lightly spiced. Only available in magnums bottles, only two barrels were produced and the blend is equal part of Gamay and Pinot Noir. The 2014 will see 10 barrels be bottled and the wine will be offered in magnums as long as regular bottle size. Will Maggie be drawing a bunny on each bottle as she is doing now? Will see!

Grange of Prince Edward Diana Block Pinot Noir

Diana Block Pinot Noir 2010, VQA Prince Edward County
The vineyard for this wine is just behind the barn and are 15 years old. Aromas and flavors of small and smoked berries with still some oak showing from the ageing, but less present than a year ago, have a good acidity level with a long and spicy finish. This wine is slowly taking place, but will take 2-3 more years to come around to be ready.

Visite à PEC - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Winery

Cabernet Franc Select 2011, VQA Prince Edward County
Explosive fruit flavors paired with light oak notes, stays fresh and so yummy in a more classic Cab Franc style.

Grange of Prince Edward Northfield Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc Northfield 2010, VQA Prince Edward County
Dark berry nose with spices and some oak. I like that nose. Very long on the palate with similar flavors of what was on the nose with this light green twist well integrated and typical of this grape variety, which I like. A serious wine.


Traditional Method Brut Lot 4 2010 (not sold yet), VQA Prince Edward County
Made of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, aged on lees for 30 months. Light gold color with sweet flavos of lemon,peach, cream and brioche bread, with a mineral finish and a soft and velvety mouthfeel. Really beautiful bubbly!

Following the tasting, we went to the barrel room. As pretty as everything fromhere, this place is gorgeous! It’s cool and I really liked the view of all those barrels…About having a lunch now?

Visite à PEC mai 2016 - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

The barrel room

Grange of Prince Edward offers lunch baskets with local produce to eat outsaid of the barn and enjoy the view. The perfect place to have a lunch! Armed with cheese, meat, bread and a bottle of Gamay bought only few minutes before, we did had a great time there between friends while looking at the kids having fun too!

Visite à PEC mai 2016 - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

Lunch infront of the vineyard

We always feels some regrets to leave a place like this and the people as sweet as the ones there. Can’t wait to meet again Maggie and Duarte at an event here in Montréal or who knows, maybe sooner than later at the winery! We’re planning to go back there every spring as a futur “classic” family trip, and of course, Grange of Prince Edward will have a special place in that trip!

Visite à PEC mai 2016 - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

Diana Block Pinot Noir vine, 15 y/0

Let’s open a bottle of wine from Grange of Prince Edward to remember these good times!

Visite à PEC mai 2016 - Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery

Le Gamay, qu’il est bon ici!

Grange’s website:

Bambara Sélection is representing them in Québec:

Norman Hardie Winery

PEC vineyard visit – Normand Hardie Winery

PEC vineyard visit – Normand Hardie Winery

It was a Beautiful breezy day in the County. After good night sleep at Sandbanks Provincial Park we head to Norman Hardie’s vineyard, a place which I appreciate so much for wines (You just have to follow my Instagram account to realize it, I open bottles of Norm’s wines several times a year!) and for the wonderful setting.  It would be lie that to say that we don’t go there for the pizza too!

A table was reserved for our group, warm welcome, we were expected. Only a short time later we have a glass of the new vintage of the Calcaire, the 2015, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot gris and Riesling. This wine will put the tone for this visit! Fresh, lively, mineral and oh so much delicious, we liked it so much we left with some bottles after!

Norman Hardie Winery Calcaire

Then meeting with M.Hardie himself who goes table to table make sure that everyone is well served and have pleasure while being omnipresent on the patio, giving vigorous and generous handshake, just like the place!

Follows pizza baked in an exterior wood oven (the best pizzas which I ate – if I exclude those made by my wife), a glass of 2014 County Chardonnay, 2014 Cab Franc (the wine I prefer – since I’ve known this winery), all this under a radiant sun. We had a blast! The crowed patio confirms the popularity of the place, well known for its pizzas as well.

Norman Hardie Winery Pizza

How to continue the visit? With a stop at the tasting bar of course ! We enjoyed it the 2015 Riesling, just bottled, made of County and Niagara fruits. Mineral, round on the palate at first then the finish kicks in with a good aciditylesvel and flavors of citrus fruits. Then we had the 2013 Niagara Chardonnay, more lively than the other enjoyed vintages, with notes of smoke and not too tropical / ripe fruit flavors, making this vintage quite good and well made. The 2014  County Chardonnay is a little more oaky at this stage, but a bolder acidity gives to the wine liveliness and some freshness while being a tad more complex and mineral than its cousin from Niagara. This last wine will be really beautiful in 1 – 3 years.

Then followed the red wines, all from the 2014 vintage, with Pinots giving red berry notes, some spices, a gentle minerality, and a slow but blooming complexity with a green and typical note of cooler area Pinot, bringing this near quench thirsty-filler capacity paired with ease of drinking. And the Cab Franc… theirs is so good! Just enough concentration, it’s fresh, spicy, juicy, it drinks so well and what about the alcohol level, not even reaching 11%! Bought some bottles of this one, again. Got to have enough bottles in the cellar to last until the next vintage release…

Quick thank you talk with Norman before going back to our camp site to this very occupied man who has to run to the airport to catch a flight to England where he was part of the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium, which the results of his wine can be found here in an article published on Jancis Robinson website.

One again we had a great moment, quite occupied, as the staff was too! We ended that day at the beach, located only a few minutes from the winery with a glass of Cab Franc in our hands…

Norman Hardie Winery Cabernet Franc

Special thanks to Sean and Claude, two personaly known staff members for their time !

As this visit ends, the desire to come back is already there, wishing to be back as soon as possible…

The winery’s website:

The agency who is representing Norman Hardie in Québec:

For my other tasting notes on Norman Hardie wines from my blog: more tasting notes of Norman Hardie’s wines

Sandbanks Prince Edward County

Geneviève Boucher

A sommelier or a wine lover near us: Geneviève Boucher

Why this new line of blog post ? Because I find it captivating !

Wine world is full of wine lovers who, by their interests and unique personality share theirs attachment to this lovely, intriguing yet touching beverage!

My life as a wine passionate was to this day sprinkled with wonderful encounters. Many have shaped of influenced my relationship with wine. So I’ve decided to share some of these persons that, at a moment or another have contributed to the flourishment of the wine lover I have become.

My questions and their current interest will be the base of these interviews.

Who’s the first person to have accepted the invite? The Dynamic and smiling Geneviève Boucher

Why Geneviève? First, as I client at réZin wine agency, I had the opportunity (and pleasure) to meet her on multiple occasions. I then was able to see how passionate she was for life and for wine in a contagious way. Then, it was almost natural for me to begin with her to start this new line of blog articles!

I met her for a coffee in the decor of Café Vasco da Gama on Peel Street in Montréal.

Coming from Westmount in Montréal and being French (which is kind of rare around there!), Geneviève was brought to wine by Steve Beauséjour and Xavier Burini, two colleagues at the resto-bar Le Cube. At that moment, she was doing a police course while having a job there. These guys played a key role in the interest she will develop for wine. This new passion was so strong that she dropped her police studies to register at the ITHQ (Quebec’s Hotel and Tourism Institute) to become a sommelier.

When her sommelier training was done, she worked as a sommelier at the Brontë restaurant then almost 8 years as marketing Director at the wine agency réZin. Also passionate about the restaurant world, she perfected her skills at Joe Beef, Lawrence, les 400 Coups and le 357C. Excellent to bring up front lesser known products and really into wine, Geneviève is, at only 27, on a new start. She just begin a new job as Canadian and Caraïbes Export Director for Michel Chapoutier.

Here is now her answers to the core questions that I will use as a base for all the upcoming interviews as well for this one with wine lovers and sommelier that will be opening themselves to us:

Passion for wine usually comes gradually, but from amateur to wine lover commonly origins from a specific moment. What is yours ?

« It happened when I was working at Le Cube. Back then, a colleague invited me on a visit of the Québec’s vineyard Les Pervenches. The wines, the people and their passion were contagious! »

“Comfort food” usually brings up the joy of eating a well appreciated meal that warms ourselves up. Do you have a “comfort wine” ?

« Many type of wines could fit there, but a Savigny-les-Beaunes or a Savagnin from Jura (with a bite of comet cheese), feels like heaven! »

It is almost impossible to split apart wine from the word “share” or “generosity”. Many of us, wine lovers, had the opportunity to share with amazing persons incredible wines in what could be called a magic moment. Any memories of one of those moments ?

With no doubt, she answered: «The evenings with my previous team at réZin where we had magnums of Fidèle de Vouette et Sorbée Champagne meant party time and happiness. » One another great moment that will stay in her mind was: «That time when, beside Alessandra Bera, a wine producer, we were looking at a sundown in the Piedmont hills while having a glass of old Moscato d’Asti. It was an unforgettable moment. » «Lately, I got caught on the origin of a wine while tasting blind. It was a Shiraz from Domaine de Tournon and it had the elegance of a Northern Rhône Valley wine. You got to be open minded when tasting wine ! »

In the recent years, Grand Cru level and well renowned wine prices just went crazy. Do you have a suggestion of a moderately priced good wine ?

Without aiming at a specific wine, Geneviève did point out regions to look after when looking for good value wines: « Southern France, Languedoc, the Rhône Valley or Greek white wines can be enjoyed without emptying your pockets! »

As a wine geek, it is nearly impossible not to have wine while camping of during a stay in a cabin. Any suggestion of a wine for outdoor aficionado ?

« Magnum size bottles are a « must have », especially with good company. Beaujolais and Sicily wines can be match with a lot of dishes while being enjoyable by themselves. » «If you’re out on a skiing trip, then I recommend Les Meysonniers, a Crozes-Hermitage from producer Michel Chapoutier »

Wine do bring us up to amazing things and discoveries, but also is at the origin of projects. What is your current project?

« Beside my new job for Michel Chapoutier, which is a challenge by itself, I do support some causes close to my heart. For example, on November 18th there will be an Art and wine Pop-up and the money gathered that night will go to the Fondation des étoiles for research on child diseases. »

To attend that event and meet Geneviève, here’s the link :

Thanks again to Geneviève for having met me and share again her passion with me, and all of you !