Originally posted June 6, 2010
Last week we had slightly windy yet beautiful day to visit Domaine de Grand Pre for a tour, tasting, and lunch. I wish every Monday could be more like that. The property and restaurant Le Caveau, are just so stunning I couldn’t help taking so many photographs. I have chosen my favourite to share in this post.
After being scolded by the owner, Hanspeter, that shopping in the gift shop could wait until after the tour (and that the girls couldn’t help it because we were built with some sort of “shopping gene”) we were taken out back for a brief run-down of the vineyard, its history, and when Hanspeter purchased it, as well as his opinion on Nova Scotia as a wine region and how far we have come. Excited talk about how several wine experts have been saying we have the potential to become the next big Champagne-style producing area, was also brought up. We were lucky to be shown the greenhouse where several dozen plants were being kept, someday to be planted to produce future vintages.
And so the tasting commenced…
Trying several wines poured by Hanspeter himself, we tasted a wide sample, including both the l’Acadie Blanc and Vintner’s Reserve l’Acadie, noting the enormous difference in the two. As well as the Reserve Muscat (delicious, which I purchased a bottle of to later pair with Thai food) and the Verrazano Rose, which led the way to of course the Marechal Foch, Vintner’s Reserve Castel, and the very interesting Reserve Moulin Rouge. The Moulin Rouge, a blend of Baco Noir, Marechal Foch, Castel, Leon Millot and even a touch of l’Acadie Blanc, I immediately dubbed “the red wine for non-red wine drinkers” as it was surprisingly sweet and dangerously easy going down. Disappointingly, we did not taste any dessert or ice wines.
We were seated in the beautiful and sunny Le Caveau dining room for a light two-course lunch served with Stutz hard apple cider (my personal favourite). The server greeted our table and got down to business right away: who has dietary restrictions? I asked for last-minute vegetarian option and she graciously assured me it would be no problem.
Everyone around me was being served a delicious-looking potato and leek soup which I anxiously awaited. Instead I was given a carrot soup topped with fresh green onions. I surmised that the potato and leek soup must have been started with chicken stock, and after tasting my first spoonful of the carrot soup, quickly got over my smidgen of disappointment. This was delicious and thick, somehow creamy without actually tasting like it had that much cream in it. The green onions were so fresh and crispy I felt like they had been just picked from the garden. I think they actually were, as Hanspeter had shown us where they grow many of their own herbs in the extensive gardens on the vineyard.
While everyone else was served a brisket sandwich, I received a roasted heirloom tomato sandwich with fresh greens and a black olive mayo. A very fresh and lightly dressed salad of greens accompanied this aromatic, rich and satisfying vegetarian sandwich. Not being a huge olive fan I gingerly took my first bite, however, the black olive mayo was so subtle and complimented the other flavours so well that I found it incredibly delicious and happily ate the entire sandwich. A very enjoyable lunch.
Taking advantage of the clear, bright and gusty day in the Annapolis Valley, we stopped at the Just Us coffee roastery and cafe in Grand Pre on the way back to gloomy and cloudy Halifax. A skillfully made cappuccino was the perfect ending to my exceptionally gastronomical Monday afternoon.