Kava Tours‘ winter wine-tasting tour, there’s a lot of delicious drinking to be discovered under all that frost.
Quebec has long been noted for its ice wine, and this tour takes you right inside the vineyards for an in-depth look at the wine-making process. Run by co-owner and vinophile Nicolas Simard, Kava Tours focuses in on the Eastern Townships and Montérégie wine regions, where there’s lots to learn and even more to drink. The tour starts at one of three pick up points (Place d’Armes Metro, Centre Infotouriste de Montreal, Bromont Tourism Office) and at $129 per person ($89 for a half-day), it’s the perfect day-trip for wine lovers, excitement seekers or all around hedonists.
Our day began at 8:30am at Metro Place d’Armes, where we were scooped up in a mini-coach and each handed a wine tote filled with snacks to help keep us on our feet. Or more specifically, from falling on our faces. From there, we headed out towards the Eastern Townships to visit three of the region’s best vineyards. The first stop on our tour was at Domaine Les Brome, where we were given a crash course on ice wine making, complete with a peek at the fermentation tanks and ice wine casks. Moving onto the elaborate cocktail-making stations set up nearby, we were instructed on how to create the perfect ice wine cocktail (look out for tomorrow’s post, featuring all of the tasty recipes we tried!) which brought new meaning to “daytime drinking”. After sampling a tequila and riesling ice wine cocktail, a vodka and ice wine martini and an ice wine spritzer, we were about ready to get back on the bus and head to our next stop at Vignoble de L’Orpailleur, which, thankfully, included lunch.
Before sitting down to a traditional raclette meal, we were given a quick overview on the art of sabrage – the technique by which a bottle of champagne is opened using a sabre. Champagne in hand, we headed inside the winery for lunch, which consisted of baguette, sliced raclette, charcuterie and salad, with personal grills at each table to achieve that melty perfection. Once we had regained some of our sobriety, we headed back outside for a rare taste of pure ice grape juice served in shot glass-shaped ice cubes. Another specialty of L’Orpailleur‘s consists of combining this pure ice grape juice with vodka and letting it ferment over 6 years, which yields a product called La Part Des Anges. Named for the liquid that evaporates over the 24 months of fermenatation, or the portion that the angels supposedly imbue, this sweet spirit makes for the perfect winter aperitif.
With just enough energy for one more vineyard, we loaded back on the bus and headed towards our last stop, Union Libre, which conveniently, was located just across the street from l’Orpailleur. Here, we were taken on a walk through the orchard, where we learned all about apple cider making, ice cider making and fire cider making – a product they were the very first to produce. Next, we gathered around the fire to sample their sparkling cider, apple cider, ice cider and, of course, their signature fire cider. One more delicious than the last, the toughest part of the day was deciding which to take home with us.