Wine. It takes a few years for a vineyard to get to the point of making it. There's earth to crack and vines to plant; there's waiting for growth and fruit. Sometimes there might be fighting off predators and disease which could mean a loss, or ripping up vines and replacing with new as the land starts to give up its secrets and harmony between plant and soil can be achieved. Then there is the whole business of making the wine. What to oak, what not to oak, how to ferment, and when to bottle. Making wine is an expensive and time consuming labour of love, really.
In the Ottawa region, all of this is compounded by the experimental and pioneering nature of what hopefully is a fledging industry. Winemakers here are working with cold-hardy hybrids in a region where the mere idea of planting a vineyard of any kind has been remote at best. Denis Perrault at Domaine Perrault, along with winemaker Bernard Martineau and with the help of sommelier Julie Ricard has come a long way in ten years. I've only been drinking the wine for a few years now, but each year what they are pouring gets better. And during a recent visit I noticed that there is less wine made from imported Niagara grapes and more wine from the fruit of his vineyard on offer.
All of this seems exciting to me. I see the potential for a local industry based on a product that I love. As a wine lover I feel invested in wanting these wineries to succeed. For me that means buying the wines when they are good and convincing everyone I know to do the same. It means going back from year to year with the knowledge that it's all a work in progress.
Last weekend I came home with six very drinkable bottles from the vineyard.
This Rosalie is a blend of St. Croix and Sabrevois. It's got a general characteristic of a Beaujolias: light, lots of berry fruit; a little light oaking has brough out some spicy notes and a sweetness; a bit of earth in the glass adds a roundness to the palate . Chilled, this is very easy drinking and would pair well with a platter of charcuterie ($13.00).
So here's the question. What about the people who stock wine lists, and write about wine, and critique wine? Is there a responsibility for those in the industry to be supportive?