About an hour's drive south of Montréal, near the Eastern Townships, Coteau Rougemont produces a line-up of wine that screams spring fever. Starting with their Ice Cider, I immediately think of cocktails. Both the Cidre de Glace NV and the Poire de Glace NV have a refreshing acidity that balances the sugar content of the delicious nectar. Mix either with a dry sparkling wine and you’ve got yourself the perfect aperitif. You can save the last drops of the bottle to serve later with an apple or a pear tart.
In North America, we tend to drink sweet wine with dessert. In France, the tradition is to enjoy sweet fortified wine before a meal. Sugar encourages appetite. Put a Quebec twist on the French tradition and serve the Cidre de Glace Réserve or Grande Réserve NV with a few nuts and a delicious piece of 5 year old Cheddar from Quebec. Make sure the cider is cold. A great combo to offer your friends when they drop by.
Spring in itself is an occasion for celebration. Toast the new season with something that is light and fruity. I personally have always had a weakness for pear fruit wine. I haven’t had a chance to try the Bulles Poiré NV yet from Coteau Rougemont but I am adding the bottle to my shopping cart as I write this. I am confident that this winery which concentrates 60% of their production on fruit wine has crafted a bottle worth popping the cork.
If you want something fruit-forward but slightly richer, I suggest the 2014 Vidal Reserve. Fermented and aged 9 months in oak barrels, the tropical notes of melon and white flowers mingle with vanilla and toast notes.
Enjoy the new season and don’t feel too guilty if happy hour starts to linger. You’re just warming up for summer. Santé!
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.