La belle Alliance, a distinctive taste of authenticity
On Fulford Road in Shefford, there’s this huge house which, far from imposing itself on its environment, enhances it. Here, harmony reigns. The Bromont and Sutton mountains stand out beautifully in the horizon from the vineyard’s elevated position. There is an impressive house, but also a barn, a pond, the grapevines. . .
Photo: David Chapman
First, it’s always such a pleasure for me to be welcomed by a friendly dog, especially when it’s a Weimaraner! And, even more pleasant than this is to be welcomed by Carolyn and Brock Dagenais. The couple settled in the area two years ago. “We were hoping to change our lifestyle,” says Brock. Much more than a change, they literally made a 180o turnabout. From Edmonton, where he practised Law, he was hoping to buy and renovate a Château in France . . . and finally ended up in the Eastern Townships! “We found the property on the Internet and immediately fell in love with it,” says Carolyn.
Well Seasoned Beginners
It was only when they first arrived on the site of their 258-acre property, that they decided to turn it into a vineyard. Experience in winemaking? Zero. But the love of good wine, was there as well as a lot of determination, willpower and passion! “Not passion, obsession!” says Brock. An enormous amount of research, discussions with oenologists and several experts, tasting other local winemakers’ wine. . . Then came their first 50-litre vat which they used for thousands of tests — “It was out of the question to sell any wine that we wouldn’t buy ourselves,” says Brock—, the new winemakers bought the best quality, enormous vats directly from Italy. “We wanted to work with the best quality equipment right from the start, which would help us ensure the quality of our products,” explains Carolyn. However, their wine, the red (L’Amour), the rosé (Entre Nous) and the white (Toujours) are much more than the result of the vats in which they were made. Brock offers me a tasting. It is 10:00 A.M., but I am a professional so I go for it. Note that “I don’t speak wine.” I’m not a connoisseur and I don’t master the exact terms that I should use to describe what I’m drinking. However, I can recognize a good wine when I taste one. A taste of their white, mellow but with a kick of freshness, is as close as you can get to ecstasy; Really! I’m not much of a red wine drinker but their L’Amour is . . . truly authentic. The same can be said of the rosé which didn’t taste like any rosé I have tasted before; less sweet, more . . . pronounced? Brock explains that he doesn’t want to tamper with his products; he’d rather adjust his process in line with their natural reaction; simply put, good honest wines that have a lot of character.
An orange wine is about to become available as well. “We take white wine grapes, but process them with the same techniques as with the red wine grapes,” explains Brock. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste it. I will HAVE TO come back. In fact, you too, should make it a must to come visit the Belle Alliance: Because of how beautiful the place is, the friendliness of the owners, the gorgeous face of their Weimaraner, their guided tours, tastings and the precious bottles you will surely take home with you.
La Belle Alliance
239 chemin de Fulford, Shefford