Top picks of the Dunham Wine Route

With the arrival of spring, new bottles are uncorked from our local wineries and cideries to celebrate the new agricultural season.

Eagerly, I wandered the different estates on the Dunham Wine Route, tucked away in the popular region of the Eastern Townships, to taste the new arrivals and discover their latest vintage. It’s the ideal time of year for on-site tastings: vines are in bloom, vegetation is slowly awakening and winemakers are thrilled to have you discover the fruits of their labour.

2017 vintage was characterized by a cool and rainy spring, followed by a delayed summer that eventually brought hot temperatures in September. This translated into, for the most part, a quality harvest with satisfactory volumes, and even sometimes an abundance. The September heat gave way to aromatic reds with a beautiful phenolic maturity, textured and expressive whites, as well as excellent conditions for both ice ciders and wines.

Here are my top picks from the Dunham Wine Route, originating from three estates that stand out for the quality and originality of their wines.

These cuvées are available exclusively on the properties and in a few local shops.


6 June 2018 |

Vignoble Val Caudalies

Alexis Perron, Guillaume Leroux, and Julien Vaillancourt are the owners of this estate which produces not only ciders, fruit wines, red and white wines, but also dry and sweet vermouth! This trio of entrepreneurs amazed us with innovative products, consistent quality, and their attention to detail.

Vidal 2017, White Wine, 12.5% alcohol, $18.22
Fruity nose parfumed with white peach and apricot aromas. Subtle hints of anise and white pepper. The palate is clean with a greasy texture, leading to a prolonged zesty finish.

Frontenac Noir-Marquette 2017, Red Wine, 12.5% alcohol, $18.22
Spicy and fruity nose with notes of cinnamon, cocoa, cherry, and raspberry. The palate is elegant and flavorful, with a crunchy and refreshing finish.

Vignoble château de cartes

The Château de cartes vineyard is the family project of Anik Desjardins, Stéphane Lamarre, and their daughter, Aurélie. The couple produces ciders and wines that stand out for their originality and uniqueness. During the summer season, in the spirit of conviviality and sharing, they welcome you with open arms on their outdoor terrace for a tasting accompanied by wood-fired pizza.

St-Pépin 2017, White Wine, 11% alcohol, $24.00
Seductive nose of almond butter with subtle mineral and oaky hints.On the palate, the wine is rich and smooth, leading to a saline and creamy finish.

Vin gris, 2017, Rosé Wine, 11% alcohol, $22.00
Blend of grey Frontenac and Radisson.
Beautifully delicate nose with subtleties of rose and peach. The palate is vivid and strikingly fruity. The citrusy finale will leave you asking for more.

Vignoble des Côtes d’Ardoise

Skilled winemaker Barbara Jimenez Herrero has been creating wines at Vignoble des Côtes d’Ardoise since 2011. A native of Mendoza, Argentina, she worked as a consulting œnologist in Québec for many years before becoming full time at the estate. In a really dry style, her wines stand out for a pronounced tension and freshness. Due to their excellent aging potential, Barbara likes to rest her wines a few months before releasing them. This explains why the 2017 vintage is not on the market yet. However, I had the pleasure of tasting a few of these young wines in the cellar, and I can tell you that precision is far from lacking!

Riesling 2016, White Wine, 11.5% alcohol, $24.00
Aromatic nose with aromas of fresh herbs, fennel, and grapefruit. The palate is clean with a vivid attack which softens to give way to a smooth fullness and a lemony ending.

Haute Combe 2015, Red Wine, 11% alcohol, $18.00
Blend of Gamay and Chelois.
Gourmet nose with hints of tart cherry and white pepper. On the palate, the elegance and aroma leave you with subtle spicy notes.

To top it all off, I would like to raise my glass to the exceptional work of these artisanal winemakers who, thanks to their vision, their audacity, and their hard work, make a name for Québec wines and share with us their passion for local products.

Here is to unforgettable moments on the Wine Route,