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Though the Eastern Townships and Montérégie are known for their apple orchards, the next day I go in search of grapes on the west side of Mount Yamaska at Les Petits Cailloux vineyard. As I speak to owner Martin Lavertu, classical music wafts through the air. He and Françoise Goudreau came to the region for windsurfing, fell in love with the land and thought it would be a great place to start a family. After the ice storm in 1999 however, the place looked like a disaster. That fall, Lavertu who worked as a software developer, took a trip to California for work. “I visited vineyards in the Napa valley one after another. Eventually we got to one winery and it felt different. I sat down at a picnic table under a tree and connected it with this property.” The couple quickly bought the 20-acre plot and began planting vines in 2003-2004. The winery currently makes 1000 cases a year and will soon begin shipping small quantities of their wine to Alberta. They make six types of wine all named after the wind. There is everything from a tame breeze (La Brise de Bois, a white wine) to a gusty zéphyr (Zéphir, a red). Lavertu lays out a platter with cheese, bread and paté for us to have with our wine. I think Lavertu has found the great secret of the artisan – learning from others and improving.
Here is a list of some of the wines that are available at Les Petits Cailloux:
LA BRISE DES BOIS
“The full-bodied Brise des Bois is a relatively dry, slightly woody white. This wine enhances sushi and game, pleasing even the most refined tastes. It is also recommended for pairing with medium to strong cheeses, smoked fish or poultry.”
LA BRISE DES CHAMPS:
“With fruity tones, Brise des Champs, demi-sec white wine, goes exceptionally well with seafood, pasta or poultry. This summer, try it with a shrimp, tuna, lobster or smoked salmon salad. Easy to match with food, think of serving it with butter fettucine, spinach and cream lasagna, side of pork or smoked ham.”
Crépuscule is a demi-sec rosé with a pleasant strawberry-raspberry taste. Ideal as an aperitif, this thirst-quenching wine gives life to hors-d’œuvres. It is also perfect with grilled meats, BBQ food and pasta with tomato sauce, tomato bruschetta or mini-basil pizzas.
“Zéphir is a light, fruity, and extremely pleasant red. It goes perfectly with Napolitan fusilli, lasagne or meat ravioli as well as pizza with all the toppings. At summer BBQs, it will be a hit with sesame pork brochettes or pork cutlets with a mushroom sauce.”
“Zéphyros is a mildly woody red, less fruity than Zéphir, but offering enhanced taste. Savour it with fajitas, parsley ham or garlic sausages. You’ll enjoy its effect with duck green pepper stew, chicken liver or game, not to mention red meat such as roast beef or beef bourguignon.”
SIROCCO: CSL’S PICK
“Aged in steel barrels after being developed during the 2005 harvest, Sirocco is a brandy-fortified red with a nice hint of maple. With its many fruit flavours, this Port wine intensifies the flavours of strong cheese, crème brûlée, dark chocolate or other desserts. It is heavenly with a chocolate fondue, Black Forest cake or chocolate mousse.”
VIGNOBLE LES PETITS CAILLOUX; 625 rang de la Montagne,
This is an extract from the article on Quebec’s producers in the Fall 2009 issue of City Style and Living magazine.