With so much noise lately about vaccine passports, let me introduce you to Passeport Xpérience, Quebec’s more exciting passport for fans of wine and spirits. It only costs $40 and grants you access to unique experiences and tastings at more than 30 wineries and distilleries in Quebec. I had the honour of trying it out last week and I was thrilled to discover that there’s an actual château on a vineyard in Laval! If you’re like me and hesitant to travel abroad this year, then discovering some of Quebec’s loveliest vineyards and creative distilleries may be the perfect adventure for you right now.
To kick off your tour, I highly recommend these two spots that I had the chance to visit:
You probably would have never known that nestled in the agricultural section of Laval, just 40 minutes from downtown Montreal, there exists a vineyard with a vrai château hidden down a tree-lined lane called Montée Champagne! You’ll feel as though you’ve suddenly been transported to the vineyards of Bordeaux or Champagne. The main building was designed and built to specific architectural guidelines in order to be called a Château. It’s a stunning hidden gem that is also available for hire for private events. Experienced winemaker Merched Fakhry, has elaborated the award-winning wines here for the past twelve years and I doubt very much that you will come away empty-handed.
A little further off the beaten path, in the Lanaudière region, we visited Quebec’s first certified organic distillery. Here we had a tour of the distillery followed by a tasting of the SAGA Grand Gin and their new vodka, Petite Eau. I’m more of a gin girl, but both spirits go down smooth and are perfect for martinis or as a base to any cocktail. What’s interesting is that they use local organic corn and barley to produce the province’s first truly organic spirits, from grain to bottle. The name of the distillery (roughly translated to The Great Upheaval) pays tribute to the resilience of the Acadians who were deported from New France (now the Maritimes) in the mid 1700s and also in homage to those Acadians who successfully settled in New Acadia and Saint-Jacques where the distillery is located. The branding alone is reason to add these spirits to your bar.
To purchase your virtual Passeport Xpérience, visit: circuitdesvignobles.com
Have you visited either of these Quebec gems yet?