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It is this time of the year again. As the spring arrives slowly, the cabane à sucre season opens in la belle province. Many Quebeckers and curious tourist will make the pilmigrage to the many sugar shacks in Quebec. There are some of them, that will allow you to bring your own wine or beer. For more information consult the Cabane á Sucre site

To match the rich foods of the sugar shack, you need to bring wines that are fruity and refreshing. Basically, avoid wines that are tannic, oaky and jammy in style. Items such as maple syrup, eggs, hams, bacon, deep fried smoked pork jowls and fried potatoes are very heavy in the stomach. You want to have a medium body wine, low in alcohol with lots of acidity. Otherwise, you will be rolling and falling sleep.

For reds, i highly suggest entry level Pinot Noirs from Bourgogne, Jura and Switzerland. The acidity and caressing fruit from Pinot will counterbalance the fatty sensations in the palate.  Gamay too is another favorite candidate too.For whites, it is the same principle. Look for whites with a high acidity and tension. My top choices includes Rieslings from Germany, British Columbia or France. I also would suggest some Sauvignon Blancs or Chenin Blancs from the Loire.

Olivier Lemasson will be in Montreal this week to discuss among other things his new venture, La Roche with his importer Glou.  On Thursday he will be at 7:00pm at 3 Petits Bouchons. On Friday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Comptoir. Different formulas for tasting his wines will be proposed. For more info, contact Glouor the restaurants. Lemasson makes wines that are just perfect for the sugar shack and thats why I am talking about him today and some of his cuvees.

Olivier Lemasson is a sommelier who feel in love with natural wines when he worked for an early advocate of that style, the merchant Eric Macé in Rennes, Brittany.  Lemasson became passionate about these unique wines and did a stintat Marcel Lapierre’s winery in Morgon, Beaujolais, first by picking grapes four years in a row, then by working for a whole year in his vines and cellar.

The story of les Vins Contés is that of a happy encounter between a wine retailer and maker.  In 2002, Hervé Villemade, owner of the 12 HA estate Domaine du Moulin in Cellettes (Cheverny AOC), was looking to start a negociant business. He picked Lemasson to be his partner and les Vins Contés was born.

In 2006, they parted ways but Lemasson continued with Vins Contés and also took over of 2HA of vines in the AOC Touraine to tend and harvest.

Le P’Tit Rouquin 2013 Olivier Lemasson

100% Gamay from 20-40 year old vines, planted on clay with silex, and bottled with no SO2.

Mind boggling aromas of red cherry with a superb smoky earthy and spicy character. In addition, amazing floral undertones. In the mouth, light body. A superb vin de soif. Juicy fruit with no snobish attitude. Flavors bring to mind crunchy ripe strawberry and raspberry. Just an incredible wine. Pure pleasure. 95/100.

Poivre et Sel 2012
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80% Pineau d’Aunis and 20% Gamay from the same parcel. The Pineau d’Aunis contributes the white pepper nuances (poivre), while the Gamay gives a very bright fruit (sel).

Very floral nose with lots of pivoine character. In addition, fieldberry cocktail with ground blackpepper. White pepper and other light spices as well. In the mouth, ligh to medium body, with a fresh character and flavors bringing to mind plum, crispy black and red fieldberries. Delicious wine in a very well made natural style. 93/100

Bois Sans Soif 2012
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Bois Sans Soif is a type of slang meaning “drink without thirst” or as an offensive phrase, meaning “you’re a drunk.” The 2013 Bois sans Soif is a 50/50 blend of Menu Pineau and Chenin Blanc, which were harvested at the same time, crushed together and co-fermented

Great mineral aromas. Sea shells, chalk, lime and lots of dust. Also, white flowers, lemon confit with a touch of oxidation. Medium body, round with a long mouthfeel. Compelling flavors of camomille, iode with a very pleasant saline taste. Electric finale.Harmonious. Good stuff. 92/100.

Happy Sugar Shack season everybody!