A Personal Favourite: The Artisan Winemakers of the 158 L’Ardennais Vineyard
As you head out to discover the magnificent routes of Missisquoi, where rows of grapevines create a sublime landscape, I strongly suggest you make a stop at the Vignoble l’Ardennais vineyard.
Stéphanie and Pier are the passionate owners who really put their heart into their work. In the past, they would travel across the region on their bikes and dream of one day buying some land here. The family enterprise started in 2016. Coming from the demanding restaurant business, they brilliantly took on the challenge to reconcile work and family life as they developed this jewel of a vineyard.
They counted on the meticulous work of an enologist to better define the wine production criteria that would match their image. They opted for a progressive transfer to the country. Although they had to deal with some problems during their first year, they still planted 4,000 grapevines in 2016 to start their own production.
The owners chose to follow a reasoned culture approach, a type of agriculture which uses as little pesticides as possible. For example, the producers don’t use any insecticides. Next year, Stéphanie and Pier will try the experience of not using any herbicides. Plus, they only use the mildest fungicides. Respecting the earth and offering excellence in their products are two of their fundamental values which guide all the actions of their endeavour.
Beaming with pride, Stéphanie tells me about the direction they’ve chosen for developing their products and the path they took a couple of years ago. Working as much in the fields as in their cellar, each bottle offers its unique experience, a breath of freshness for dry, fruit flavoured wines.
The vineyard’s present image is refreshing as they place the ante on creativity. The labels are stunning and each one has a particular meaning for the family enterprise. For example, the Pitter label, in honour of Pier, presents a black-capped chickadee, part of Quebec’s rare birds; with a little luck, we might spot one in the Stanbridge-East area. Their blend of Maréchal Foch and Frontenac noir aged in French oak barrels for 18 months is one of the many products wine enthusiasts will discover.
On the site, there is also a boutique for wine tastings and a picnic area where visitors can bring their baskets, and savour the vineyard products in an enchanting setting.
My personal favourite is their dry white wine, Vert-bois: a white wine made with white Seyval grapes and aged in oak barrels. The wine offers notes of pear and a fresh well-balanced and round flavour.
A local discovery to excite your taste buds.
Vignoble de l’Ardennais
158 Ridge Road
Until June 23: Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
From June 24 to September 2: Every day from 10 :00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
From September 7 to October 20: Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.