Quebec-native winemakers abroad
It is not rare to see more and more winemakers leave their home countries to pursue their passion. This week, my goal is to make you discover products from the “Ancient World” produced by talented Quebec-native winemakers. They have managed to conquer the market through hard work and dedication which allows them to have their products sold everywhere around the world, but also closer to your, in the “Espace Cellier” of the SAQ. Here are few suggestions to discover, if you have not already tried them.
Perhaps you heard about the documentary Grand Cru presented at the cinema Le Clap in Spring 2018 that portrayed Pascal Marchand, winemaker emeritus that decided to live his passion in Burgundy. The cinematography portrays the philosophy of the man that takes great care of his vines during the 2016 vintage, a difficult year because of the numerous rime and mildew episodes (a devastating vine disease) for the small quantity of wine produced. You probably knew him before, but if you are an amateur of Pinot noir from Burgundy, you surely recognize him as the “rebel Quebec winemaker”. 30 years ago already, after his viticulture studies in Beaune, he started his career in the region by working for the Compte Armand by taking care of the Clos des Épeneaux. Quickly, he is spotted by the critics and, shortly after, opens his own “négoce” in this mythic region. To this day, he continues to purchase prestigious parcels in the Côte-de-Nuits region and has partnered up, in the last decade, with the Ontario-native winemaker Moray Tawse. Fervent defender of the terroir and the tradition, Pascal Marchand produces living wines by staying true to his convictions and by producing biodynamically, which can seem quite crazy in Burgundy. This is certainly because of his attention to detail in the production of his wine and by the meticulous work and his respect for the nature that he has earned such an outstanding reputation amongst his peers but also in the eyes of the consumers. Its defined style, qualified more by an infusion than an extraction, in his Pinots and the finesse in his products tell the story of his experience and his passion. This is one of his Pinots noirs!
After having learned from Michel Chapoutier, Olivier Leflaive and Jean-Marc Brocard, Patrick Piuze is now his own boss. A few years later, the Quebec-native winemaker produces some of the most popular crus of the Chablis appellation. A reference in this historic region for the precision and the purity of his wines elaborated from the flagship varietal, the Chardonnay. As a winemaker, he does not let himself be influenced by the trends of the region and, instead, follows his principles and his instinct. Even if it is allowed to use machines for the harvest, Patrick and his team harvest the grapes by hand and generally earlier than the majority of the other producers in the region; this, as an effect, produces wines that are built around an acidic presence. In this same search of precision, he ages his premiersand grands crusin oak casks. Only the casks that have been used in the most recent vintages of the premiersare selected. By doing this, Piuze highlights the importance, during the first aging, of the transfer from the cask to the wine and from the wine to the cask. The young winemaker is not only renowned for his fine wines from exceptional parcels, but he also brings forth a series of cuvees “terroirs de Chablis villages”, more accessible, that showcase his fascination for the Chablis vineyards. You can find one of his vintages here!
For the Chianti enthusiasts, Paula Papini Cook is a pride of the province of Quebec in Tuscany. Already at a young age, the Quebec-native with Italian origins had the intention of pursuing her studies in Italy and wanted to learn the native language of her grand parents. Following studies in agriculture at the McGill University of Montréal, she moves to France and Italy to perfect her knowledge in highly renowned schools. Proud owner of the Miccine domain since 2010, she had to work very hard to be recognized and to promote her brand to importers. To her surprise, she was awarded by the very prestigious Italian guide Gambero Rosso for the first product she worked on alone: the Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 cuvee. Since then, she has accumulated various awards and is now in the spotlight of critics and amateurs alike. Among others, the Decanter magazine has rated her Chianti Classico 2013 cuvee at 95 points. The least that can be said is that her popularity is truly on the rise! Don’t believe me simply from what you read here; go try her products in the SAQ stores and let yourselves be charmed!