Yikes!!! Life doesn’t stop! One day you’re born… the other you’re a year (or many years) older! And that’s a reason to celebrate big time! We’re alive, aliiiiive, aliiiiive!!!!!
I celebrated my thirty something birthday at the beginning of August. I usually throw some sort of party or at least a small gathering with just close friends. This year however, the possible dates for any celebratory event were already taken by work commitments or social ones. The social part was the wedding of one of our cousins. This wedding took place in a city in the Eastern Townships located about 1.5 hours far away from Montreal. As we were planning on making the trip over there, the groom suggested us to take a day off at work and make it a long weekend so we could visit the region. Hence, we left the city on Thursday after work and got an Airbnb apartment in Freligshburg, a beautiful town located about 2 hours far away from home.
We found a nice apartment on Airbnb. The apartment was located right at the main entry to the town and upstairs of a candy store (confiserie) ran by a wonderful and friendly woman named Patricia. If you ever visit the area, go and get a hot chocolate at this place! The scones are also delicious and again, you won’t find a more friendly, warm person as Patricia. At the back of the property, there is a nice garden facing the river. There are some chairs so you can grab your morning coffee/tea/hot chocolate and enjoy it while also enjoying the sound of calm! Such a peaceful experience!!
The region is known for its many vineyards. So, we decided to spend our Friday visiting a couple of them. After eating breakfast in our tiny, but absolutely lovely apartment and saying hi to our host, we hit the road and started our wine tasting tour! The wine tour has about 4 different circuits that can be made by car or bike. We took the route “Le Triangle” which consists of 10 wineries. Due to time concerns, we visited 6 out of the 10. Usually you can take tours to the vineyards before the wine tasting, this time we only toured one vineyard as most places were only offering tours to big groups. You can also walk around certain areas of the vineyards, but without a guide.
Well, I won’t list the 6 vineyards that we visited. What I will do is to list those from which we got some bottles for our private collection!
- Château de cartes: meaning “House of cards”, this family owned and operated vineyard and cider-house offers a very interesting selection of products. From the usual white and red wines to tasty ciders, Château de cartes offers as well a couple of special products, like the Frontenac Noir which is a Porto style red wine! We fell so in love with this wine that it ended in our collection! I’m thinking of a nice romantic evening with candles, black chocolate and this wine!
- Les trois clochers: which means “the three bell towers”. This is a beautiful vineyard with spaces for picnic, in addition to the tour (need to reserve a spot) and of course, the wine tasting experience. When we visited this place, we were looking for a good red to add to the collection, and did we find it! A wonderful red with lots of body, a nice and strong taste, perfect for old cheese or meats. I will probably organize a Wine & Cheese gathering at home before sunny and warm days go away!!
- L’Orpailleur: meaning “gold panner”. The name was chosen as the gold panner is the one who patiently digs for gold in a field in a similar way the vineyard’s 4 founders patiently harvest and work with the grapes to create their products. I have already been to L’Orpailleur and at that time, I’ve gotten the Special Vintage Grey Wine. This time, we opted for the Cuvée Natashquan, a sweet golden wine. This wine makes me think of a nice dinner on my balcony, you know, with grilled salmon and veggies!
- Clos Ste-Croix: which means “Holy Cross (walled) vineyard”. This vineyard is situated right on Dunham’s main street! In addition, they offer two suites in a renovated house next to the vineyard! To be honest, at this point of our tour, we were a bit tired and that is why we only tasted the rosé as it was the one product missing from our collection. It has to be fate or something, because their Rosé is one of the best sellers! And for a reason, so light, fairly sweet, I would say, elegant wine. We already drank it for sure, just like that before dinner! We also tasted the confit de vin (wine glacé) and of course we got one to enjoy it later at home with some Brie or Camembert cheese!
This goes to Domaine Côte d’Ardoise. While we did not taste the vineyard products, we got to see the sculpture exhibition currently ongoing (up until October 22). The exhibition, titled “Nature et création” presents the works of 80 sculptors. The sculptures are spread around the vineyard, so you can definitely have a nice walk around. The whole promenade takes around 1 hour or so, and totally worth it!
All in all
I am happy and grateful for having experienced such a calm and nice weekend in the Eastern Townships. The wedding I was talking about at the beginning went great, the newly weds were extremely in love and happy and we had a blast! Moreover, now my wine collection includes very fine pieces of local products!