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Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise
by
Terry Sullivan

Domaine des Cotes d 'ArdoiseSummary: Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise is the oldest still producing vineyard in Quebec. With many sculptures near the vineyard, take the time to walk past the human art while admiring nature’s art.

The sign along the road is a sculpture of a grapevine between two rock posts. The grapevine holds the sign for Domaine Cotes d’Ardoise. Bronze leaves and clusters of green grapes hang from the sculptured vine. Sculptures are set throughout the grounds and along the vineyard. The landscaping is beautiful and there are several places to sit and rest while taking in the beauty.

Domaine des Cotes d 'ArdoiseThe entrance to the tasting room is almost hidden in a green covered wall of plants. Head for the wood doors. Inside the Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise wines are on display. We noticed on one shelf bottles with the words “Vin de Messe.” This sacramental wine is used at churches. The tasting counter is small and offers a spot for an intimate tasting. To really get to know the charm of the winery and vineyard, head outside and amble through the property.

Vineyards

Domaine des Cotes d 'ArdoiseThe oldest still producing vineyard in Quebec has eight hectares (20 acres) under vine. Planting began in 1981 with Marechal Foch, Seyval Blanc and Pinot Noir. Today, grape varieties planted include Gamay, Chardonnay and Riesling for vinifera, and Marechal Foch, Seyval Blanc, Seyval Noir, Vidal Blanc, De Chaunac, Aurore, Lucie Kuhlmann and Frontenac for the hybrids. Some of the vines are covered with soil to protect them during winter. A new vineyard is planned. Grapes include Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Zweigelt, Seyval Blanc and Vidal Blanc.

The vineyard is planted on gently sloping land. Slate and shale make up much of the soil and provide good drainage. The location of the vineyard is in an area of Quebec that receives the most sunshine and least amount of precipitation.

Domaine des Cotes d 'ArdoiseIn addition to the vineyard, the property also has 3,500 apple trees. The first cidre de glace (ice cider) in the world was made at Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise.

Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise has several firsts. For awhile they sold wine without a permit. Authorities did not know how to handle a small vineyard that made wines with their own grapes. The large commercial wineries imported grapes from around the world. A wine tasting in the vineyard with representatives from the SAQ had a response that the wines were drinkable and sellable. Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise received an artisanal production permit in 1985.

Domaine des Cotes d 'ArdoiseWines

We tasted several wines in the tasting room beginning with the 2011 La Marédoise, a blend of Seyval Blanc and Aurore. The wine had a light straw color and floral aroma. The taste offered both floral notes and a bit of yellow stone fruit. The finish was crisp and fruity. The rosé 2011 Charmes et Délices was a blend of Seyval Blanc and Chelois. The wine had a pink with orange tint color. The floral wine had notes of citrus and raspberries on the taste and finish.

The 2010 Côte d'Ardoise was a red blend of Gamay Noir, Maréchal Foch and Lucie Kuhlmann. The ruby colored wine offered dark fruit with a hint of oak on the aroma. The taste offered cherry and pepper. Mild tannins were accompanied by a fruity finish.

We tasted an Icewine and a late harvest wine made from the second pressing of the Icewine. The sugar content of the second pressing was not high enough to qualify as an Icewine so it was considered a late harvest. The Icewine Givrée d'Ardoise Blanc from 2008 was a dark yellow color. The wine was sweet with floral notes and hints of tropical fruits. The wine was made from Vidal grapes. The second pressing was made into the Douceur d'Ardoise, a straw colored wine. It also had a floral aroma. The taste offered floral notes and apricots.

The winery makes two sacramental wines. The 2009 Estafette Blanc was a blend of Seyval, Aurore and Vee Blanc. The high alcohol wine at 16.5% offered dried fruits and hazelnuts. The Estafette Rouge was a blend of red wine grapes. It too had a 16.5% alcohol. The Siena colored wine offered dried fruits.

A visit to Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise would not be complete without viewing the many sculptures on the property. Take the time to stroll the landscaped grounds and view the sculptures there and near the vineyards.

Domaine des Cotes d 'Ardoise          

Domaine des Côtes d'Ardoise
879 Rue Bruce
Dunham, Quebec, Canada J0E 1M0

GPS: N45º 06.829’ W72º 50.760’

Article written June 2013


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