Wine Recap: November 2019

wine recap (18)

Its the November Wine Recap! November saw us having a week off from work on a little staycation and we managed to pick up some nice wines and then chilled out a lot just watching movies and relaxing a little so this time has a few more wines that we were able to try! Let’s check it out!

Domaine Le Grand Saint-Charles Duo de Frontenac 2017

Le Grand Saint-Charles Duo de Frontenac

Producer: Domaine Le Grand Saint-Charles
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Location: Quebec, Canada
Taste Tag: N/A

Le Grand Saint-Charles is a winery that I want to get behind so much because of its creative wine combinations. This one mixes two Frontenacs together: Frontenac Gris and Frontenac. We’re not exactly a huge fan of either of these wines but we do always like to try new mixes to hopefully have one that surprises us. This one actually was pretty alright compared to the other white wine varieties that we’ve tried from Le Grand Saint-Charles. Its not quite as acidic or extra-dry. This one was rather delicate and light. It still was leaning onto the semi-dry taste palette but there was also a well-enough balance to make it enjoyable.

Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling 2016

Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling

Producer: Inniskillin Wines Inc.
Alcohol Content: 12%
Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
Taste Tag: Fruity and Sweet

Inniksillin is a winery that is pretty well-known. They have some fantastic ice ciders and my husband has been wanting to try out the wines, so here we are giving the Late Autumn Riesling a try. As expected, the safe area of Riesling didn’t disappoint at all. It was a pleasant one and rather rich in flavor because of the Late Autumn element that actually gives it a more reserve sort of status. This one is definitely in the fruity and sweet taste tag and one that is very easy to like a lot.

Le Grand Ballon Val de Loire Chardonnay

Le Grand Ballon Chardonnay

Producer: Sarl Joel Delaunay
Alcohol Content: 12%
Location: Centre-Ouest, France
Taste Tag: Delicate and Light

From my memory, this is the second time that we’ve tried a wine from Val de Loire. French wines have so many territories and each have their distinctive elements and taste that its truly hard to remember all of it. I did remember the last one that we tried from Val de Loire was more on the dry side and that applies to Le Grand Ballon’s Chardonnay as well. Its more of  semi-dry taste with has a bit of light-bodied elements and fruity elements as well. The dryness does hit harder on the first sip but it does have a refreshing taste down the throat.

Slow Press Chardonnay Monterey County

Slow Press Chardonnay

Producer: The Wine Group
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Location: Monterey, California, United States
Taste Tag: Aromatic and Mellow

I’m not going to lie that my initial draw to Slow Press was its classy bottle label and the color choice. It had this oaked and aged wine sort of look to it plus it had the aromatic and mellow taste tag which always has this surprisingly sophisticated taste to it. Slow Press is actually quite good. It is a little dry but it has a nice finish, just like most of the wines in this taste tag category. Its why we always go back to it as its not exactly a fruity and fun deal but one that is a little more elevated and has more depth in its taste.

Growers Honeycrisp Apple

Growers Cider Co.

Producer: Arterra Wines Canada Inc.
Alcohol Content: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Taste Tag: Sweet & Fruity

Ontario ciders are rather different from Quebec ciders. I’ve tried a good few Ontario ciders to this point and I’ve become quite picky on what stands out for me. A lot of them actually are very similar probably because of the apples they choose. What makes Growers Cider different is that it uses Honeycrisp Apples and it adds this tartness to their cider that actually balances really well with the apple sweetness. Its a rather unique cider taste and has quite a delightful experience.

That’s it for this November Wine Recap!
Some really neat discoveries this time around!

Hiking: CIME Haut-Richelieu (Mont St-Gregoire, Quebec)

This post has been a long time in the making as the hike took place before all the festivals in probably early October. With that said, we did get two hikes in during October as a final hurrah to the season unless the weather holds up and we end up finding some year-round trails that we can still hike on. Its a research currently in progress.

CIME Haut-Richelieu was a rather spontaneous choice on a random morning that we wanted to go somewhere but didn’t quite know where and then I remembered that near an Arbraska in Mont St-Gregoire that I had gone a few years back that there were hiking trails nearby and after some quick research, voila!

Sentier Le Panorama

CIME Haut-Richelieu

CIME Haut-Richelieu is a small network of trails. We started out on Le Panorama (blue trail) that took us to a few little landings. It started out relatively gentle but the elevation we climbed in a short distance went up relatively quickly as within 1km of Le Panorama reached the 250m high of its summit at the end of this trail that circled to another trail that looped back to the reception centre. The trail included a lot of steps like these or other ones that were actual steep wooden stairs.

CIME Haut-Richelieu

Le Panorama wasn’t especially long but it did link off to some other trails. The first was a little clearing on the trail Les Arenes which had a little view and some spot where a fixture used to be there but was since removed with some info.

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It had somewhat of more obstructed view and then there was a little lookout platform as well. However, the yellow path also branches out for a 220m steep walk to its Petit Sommet trail (aka small summit). There had a pretty nice view of the surrounding area.

CIME Haut-Richelieu

As you make your way back, you have to double back onto the blue trail which are the other side of some stone steps divided by a barrier. Its important to look carefully at the markers to make sure you are on the right trail path. Of course, its time to reach the top of the summit which also marks the end of this trail. The view has boards on each side that give a distance to other mountains around and in which direction and other information of elevation which is pretty great.

CIME Haut-Richelieu

Trail La Carriere (green)

Coming back, we take a slightly longer trail which is 1.4 km long but also gives a little less in elevation which is nice. Its a fairly easy path with some different vegetation. The beginning portion circles around a rather panoramic view of the summit to get out and has one lookout point  on the other side that is fairly nice. It goes through some historic spots and a rocky area where some machinery  used to be there as the info card mentioned.

CIME Haut-Richelieu

What is pretty cool about the trail coming back is that in the ending parts of the trail, it has little stations that shows different machinery from back in the day for display. It doesn’t have clear information cards on what its purpose was but still, its a nifty little thing that my husband particularly included as he likes history and mechanics/machinery things. The ending trail pretty much goes through a forest trail.

CIME Haut-Richelieu is a nice little spot to go. We skipped through some of the trails in detail like Les Arenes which was something of a shortcut path as well as La Raccourci which connects in one part the blue and green trails  but we opted to do the whole thing is in full we ended up doing a decent hike of 2.6 kms which is relatively short for our usual hike but as one after a month and a half of break, it felt like a shorter one but still challenging with the quick elevation change, plus, it had some nice scenery.

CIME Haut-Richelieu has winter trails and such, I believe so you can always check it out if you’d like on their website HERE. Plus they have entrance fees so you can check that out as well.

Wine Recap – October 2019

wine recap (17)

Welcome to the Wine Recap for October 2019. With all the festivals and overtime going on, it was an obvious progression of events that drinking anything alcoholic was not going to as abundant seeing as everything needs a clear mind to write or work. With that said, this month’s recap is much shorter than usual and actually probably is more average as well. Nothing amazing but nothing that we hated either.

Let’s check it out!

La Vieille Ferme Rosé Recolte 2018

La Vieille Ferme Recolte 2018

Producer: Perrin et Fils SA
Alcohol Content: 13%
Location: Vallee du Rhone, France
Taste Tag: Fruity and Medium-bodied

A very rare taste tag that we usually choose from for this one. While that usually doesn’t say too much to us, this one was rather fruity in the more acidic range and definitely was drier than our usual wines. However, La Vieille Ferme for its taste tag actually was fairly mild. It had a nice smooth taste especially as its end notes. However, its first sips are rather in the dry range and a little more than what we are accustomed to. For those who do like drier wines, this one is a pretty decent option especially as it is the Recolte 2018 which is a little more special than the normal.

Kim Crawford Chardonnay 2018

Kim Crawford Chardonnay 2018

Producer: Kim Crawford Wines
Alcohol Content: 13%
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Taste Tag: Aromatic and Mellow

We’ve seen the Kim Crawford wines around quite a bit and never actually tried it before. While Chardonnay is not exactly our go-to white wine variety, we wanted to give this one a go as it fell into some other wine taste tags that we’ve tried before that had a lot of depth in its beginning sips to its end notes. Kim Crawford is pretty good as well. Its well-balanced and not too dry. There was a slightly more acidic finish to this one.

Petit et Fils Rose Sparkling Cider

Petit et Fils Cider Rose

Producer: Verger Petit et Fils
Alcohol Content: 6.5%
Location: Quebec, Canada
Taste Tag: Fruity and Sweet

A nice sparkling rose cider which is lighter than our normal wines and deliberately so as this was in the middle of the huge rush and more meant as a fun little cider to just relax. Petit  & Fils is rather good and we had bought it a few years back (if I remember correctly) and it didn’t disappoint so we were excited to give it a try again. As expected, it was not quite as refined to our palette as we had remembered it but as a sparkling rose cider, it still was rather fruity and sweet but leaned a little closer to the medium-bodied.

That’s it for this round of Wine Recap!
Short and sweet for October with some decent choices!

What have you been drinking lately?

MTL a Table: Rose Ross

The Battle of Ingredients is taking a break in November as normal to check out the MTL a Table. We’re definitely back on track as this time, we kick off the eating earlier in this restaurant event. The first we’re hitting up is Rose Ross.

Rose Ross is a cozy little restaurant. Its actually just one strip of restaurant that was easily missed when we were first looking for it until we crossed the street and saw the sign. Its rather nicely ambient and while its fairly close quarters, the decor is very comfortable. Right off the bat, the service here was fantastic. They made an effort to make sure that allergies and intolerances were addressed and confirmed before ordering and was patiently answering all our questions and then when the meal came, they made sure to assure that anything that might look like it could trigger food allergies were confirmed to not be the case.

MTL a Table menu was rather good with a good few choices for each course and they also offered the Exclusive Aeroplan privileges for Aeroplan members.

Exclusive Aeroplan Privilege: Glass of Suriol Cava

Suriol Cava

They offered everyone with the Aeroplan card on hand a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, Suriol Cava as a starter. I’ll talk more about it in the wine recap for November. I can say that I’m not usually a huge fan of sparkling wine but this one was pretty good and matched well with the meal.

STARTERS

Rose Ross

Honeynut squash, pumpkin seeds and herbs, pesto, mozzarella di bufala Maciocia

Rose Ross

Mushroom cream, fried shallots, chive, curry oil and crispy chicken skin

Rose Ross

Brussel sprouts a la vietsesame oil and coriander

A big group is always nice as we get to at least see everything on the menu. With the starters, we got the 3 out of 4 choices. My husband having the first one with the honeynut squash where his general comment about his meals throughout the evening was that they had a lot of depth in the food with the different textures combined and the flavors and such.

I had the last one (which was the one that I had my eyes on) with the brussel sprouts. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to cook and eat brussel sprouts. While this one was a tad powerful in the vinaigrette, it was really delicious for the majority of it and we all had a debate on how to fry or roast the brussel sprouts to be like that. Very lovely dish and it says a lot about it as I’m not a huge fan of coriander to begin with but the vietssesame oil and coriander was great with the brussel sprouts.

MAIN COURSES

Rose Ross

Gnocchis, pecorino romano, chanterelles, fried cauliflower, chard, tarragon and cream

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Blood pudding from Cochonnailles, squash puree, embeurre of cabbage with lovage and bacon, glace de viande moutardee

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Coregone, carrot mousseline, beluga lentilles, fennel and basil

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Onglet de boeuf IPE, cognac sauce, fries and mayonnaise (+$10)

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Kid’s meal: Penne with tomato sauce

The husband’s choice was the Gnocchi, Phoebe’s choice was the Onglet de boeuf and mine was the Coregone fish option with the carrot mousseline. Everyone liked their main course. Mine was very unique as I’m not sure that I’ve ever had this type of fish before. The fish was cooked nicely and then the carrot mousseline was heavenly then it was paired with the sides that gave it a lot of depth and the flavors blended really well together.

Worth noting here is that they gave the option for kids menu where they had various types of pasta and two types of sauce to choose from which is always nice to see it having a certain level of accommodation on that level.

DESSERTS

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Hazelnut cream puff with vanilla ice cream, salted caramel and goglu cookie crumble

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Carrot cake and miel d’Anicet

In terms of dessert, they also landed quite well. The group enjoyed the hazelnut cream puff while I had the carrot cake which was a change in the original MTL a table menu which was some almond milk rice pudding. This one was also lactose-free option and tasted really  nice. It was very aromatic and not too sweet and the cake texture was moist as well.

Overall, Rose Ross is definitely a restaurant that we’d go back to. For MTL a Table, it was in the 2nd tier pricing at $33 a meal with a lot of options in each course to choose from. The service was impressive and very friendly. The restaurant atmosphere was really efficient and very comfortable. The food also delivered really well especially since it has a mix of French and North American food which sometimes is rather sensitive on the possible allergies but they were all very knowledgeable about their menu so had options for the basic allergies. It was an awesome first impression and first experience that we’d gladly go back a second time, even during a non-MTL a Table event for their regular menu if the opportunity presents itself. If you’re in Montreal, this one is a definitely one to consider.

Hiking: Parc National de Plaisance (Le Zizanie des Marais Trail)

With the big July month done with, our hiking resumes. Its still up in the air how frequent and where but we did find that we had never gone to Plaisance National Park which is in between Montreal and Ottawa and is a fairly simple flat hike. Its main attraction this year is the newly re-opened boardwalk after its destruction in 2017 (according to the Sepaq site).

There is a fairly decent amount of trails, not a lot is solely for hiking and walking but most of them are for hiking/walking and cycling. However, there are a few other ones that I have my eye on when we do come back. As for the returning to hiking after over a month away, we decided to take things easier and this one fit our criteria. We ended up parking at the information center which was a 3km hike to the boardwalk and then the boardwalk is a total of about 500m and then walking back so 6.5km as a comeback is pretty decent.

Trail to the Boardwalk

Parc national de Plaisance

As this is mostly walking around walking and wetlands, there’s a lot of scenes of that. The park also offers an array of water activities and equipment for rental which is something that could interesting for those into that sort of thing. We’ve been thinking about doing a canoeing trail soon but not for this one so above is a random shot as we walked towards the actual hiking trail.

Hiking Trail Portion

Parc national de Plaisance

The starting of the hiking trail is really nothing too crazy. If anything its in a forest and by water so there’s a ton of bugs as this year is fairly like that anyways. Not an issue usually but we thought this would be an easy hike and didn’t bring out hiking backpack which had our bug spray, it was an oversight on our end because other than the wetlands around us, we also did get thundershowers the night before. Either way, it wasn’t too bad since the trail isn’t too long but just a note for those who want to try this out.

Parc National de Plaisance

The trail went by a few lookout points. One is more general and the other is for shrubs growing in the wetlands. That wetlands area is pretty nice to look at. It had a lot of water lilies and shrubs.

Parc national de Plaisance

At the end of the normal walking trail is the boardwalk which the little stretch of trail is called La Zizanie de Marais. Its pretty beautiful especially since its really new also and pretty sturdy. It stretches across a good portion of the marsh land with 3 exits and trails that continue on at each side. One goes further in, the other loops back to the parking lot in the vicinity and back to the trail where we came from. In the center is something of a seating area to rest and enjoy.

Parc National De Plaisance

There’s a lot of little wetland aquatic plants and flowers surrounding it. The weather was partly cloudy so the sun kept coming in and out which made it really nice and not too hot.

Parc National de Plaisance

Parc National de Plaisance

I’ll be sharing more of the close-up shots of flowers on this wetland over at Avenue of Daydreams.

That’s honestly it for this trail. If you want to not walk from the info centre and save the 3km to and 3km from then there is a parking nearby. This trail is really nice especially since its completely newly re-opened. We love doing boardwalks and this one is just impressive.

As a finishing note, I have my eye on a trail that starts at the parking lot near the boardwalk so we should be back to do that at some point. Not sure if its this year since its fairly lengthy but its on our hiking to-do list right now.

Hiking: Mont Chapman (Stokes, Quebec)

The next hike went back to probably one of the most popular areas in Quebec and pretty well-known for its nature and that’s the Eastern Townships. After some research, we landed on finding this location called Mont Chapman. Its one of the farther hiking trails in Eastern Townships as we headed into a smaller country road that lead to a little parking lot in the middle of nowhere, with actually a few cars as the starting point for the hike.

Mont Chapman

The part that we did is the Boucle du Mont Chapman which goes around. We ended up doing the entire loop (and some more…I’ll talk about that later). Its pretty much a loop to the summit and back. With the shorter distance and the height of the summit, the elevation went up fairly quickly and it was almost a constant sloped trek, which is one of the bigger challenges of the path especially going upwards. We took the 4.9 km path upwards and did the 3.3 km downwards.

The path was pretty well maintained. There are a lot of little stones and twigs sticking out of the path through which can be hidden by all the fallen leaves. That is the only issue but its all about being observant. At the same time, there are some efforts to put planks to cross over little streams and some steps were made out of the terrain to help the process. There are some rocky steps as well. If not, in the little streams area, there are little rocks to walk over to stay a little more dry. It has to do with the weather still be cooler and more rainy this spring, I think. There were also some unique things like walking between boulders to get to the other side or on the down path, there’s some boulders to climb down from, as expected as the return trip is shorter distance, making it a steeper downhill trek.

And then, the view at the summit had a few angles, here it is:

Mont Chapman

Its a pretty hard track to be honest and it probably has to do with the fact that we expected it to be milder than it turned out to be. The issue with expectations, right? Either way, it was listed as an intermediary path, I believe but at times it did have some difficult moments. Setting that aside, my biggest issue was that we went the 4.9km path up where you follow the orange and white indicators on the trees, but going down, we had to follow the red and white indicators and man, was that confusing. Why I said that we ended up doing more than the total was because in between, we had to try three paths and each headed back to the fork, taking us over an hour to figure out where to go while walking up some really steep paths up and down to come to the conclusion to go back to the summit and take the path back and realized there was a sign at another angle in the distance that gave you the right path to follow. A lot of issues for my ankles (almost twisted it a few times on the downward jumps or hidden protruding rocks) on this one hike that I had to use some the trusty KT Tape and we had bought recently. That’s one of my complaints about this track, the unclear signage. While a part of the path has some work being done and didn’t have an alternate route so we checked that it was still just muddy but safe so kept going through the area to get to the other side since it was so close to the summit.

On the more positive side, this was the hike that got us ready for some harder trails. While we were both fed up of the trail on the way back and it was a tad painful (for my ankle specifically), there is a good amount of satisfaction to toughing it out and getting through it at the same time, having a good idea that we’ve really improved our preparedness over the years that we still had water left and food to sustain our energy. Not to mention, we had also got some pasta salads in the cooler at the car as a reward.

This was a rough one. 
Can’t say the view was a huge reward since it was also bug-infested. Insect repellant is a must on this trail.
We are hoping to squeeze in one or two more hikes before event season starts up in July. 😉

Wine Recap – May 2019

Welcome to the next Wine Recap! Last month was a bit lighter with one that already showed up in a previous post and one that is a repeat from a previous wine recap. Let’s check it out!

Val Caudalies – Cidre de Glace Reserve 2016

Producer: Val Caudalies Inc.
Alcohol Content: 10%
Location: Quebec, Canada
Taste Tag: Fruity and Extra Sweet

We’re big fans of ice ciders during any season. This one was one that we picked up at the Bonsecours Market (if I remember correctly) after going to an event in the area earlier this year. Its been sitting around for a while but never quite made it with any meals. Fruity and sweet would be how I would describe this one. It has some depth especially since it has this smoky accent to it, which is an element of certain ice ciders that we tend to prefer. Reserve are usually more selected and limited for ice ciders and has a more well-rounded taste and a little sweeter due to the process duration and it appealed to our preferences quite a bit.

Petale de Rose 2017

Petale de Rose

Producer: Régine Sumeire
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Location: Provence, France
Taste Tag: Fruity and Light

You can see the full Battle of Ingredients post HERE.

Petale de Rose is a more dry rosé wine which has be baffled why it would be considered light. Although, it can’t be said to be too intense either. It does have those fruity elements. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this one in terms of rosé wines however, it had some pretty decent ending notes. Rosé wines are always a bit hard to find a perfect one and the shift from one year to the next sometimes makes quite some change as well in its taste.

Batch: 1904 Cider

Batch: 1904

Producer: Brickworks Ciderhouse
Alcohol Content: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Taste Tag: Dry & Aromatic

Brickworks Ciderhouse Batch: 1904 is a return selection here. I personally like their Queen Street one (forgot the actual name of it) but this one is pretty decent. Its a bit drier than the ciders I usually drink but this time around, it seems more to my taste as well. These ones are fairly light and perfect for the busy times and also just getting a taste rather than some a lot heavier. Plus, ciders are really great as the weather warms up. Anyways, this one actually worked out better than the last time I had it HERE (a year ago, it would seem).

That’s it for this Wine Recap!
Have you tried anything new lately?