Domaine du Nival, which released its first vintages in 2015, was created by Denis and Matthieu Beauchemin. Trained as a geological engineer, Denis’ passion for wine began in 2004, the year he helped his winemaker brother with the harvest (his brother owns Vignoble et Domaine Beauchemin in Yamachiche). In 2007, Denis shares with his son Matthieu the desire to have his own vineyard one day, an idea that Matthieu supports with enthusiasm. Mathieu has a master’s degree in business administration and is also passionate about geography and travel.
A unique vineyard in Quebec
In 2008, the Beauchemins planted a few grape varieties in Saint-François du Lac to see how they would acclimate. They also met many winemakers, including Mike and Véronique Hupin of Les Pervenches Vineyard, pioneers in the use of vitis vinifera grapes in Quebec. In 2011, they bought 6 hectares of land in Saint-Louis on the Yamaska River. In the following years, they planted 2.7 hectares of vines, including vidal, pinot noir, gamaret, petite arvine and albariño, never before seen in Quebec! The soils on which the vineyard is planted come from an ancient landslide. They are composed of sandy loam and clay loam.
From experimentation to the first vintage
Denis and Matthieu Beauchemin made their first harvest in 2014, during which they produced experimental red and white wines (no more than 300 bottles each!). In 2015, they began their first “official” harvest, which will result in the first commercialized vintages of the estate in 2016.
Denis and Mathieu took a training course with Jérémie d’Hauteville of OenoQuebec, a Montreal-based wine consulting firm.
The main challenge for the Beauchemins is the conditions under which the vines are grown, including the negative effects of humidity and insects. And of course, there is also the winter. The vineyard must be completely covered with geotextile fabric in order to survive the harsh Quebec winter. More than 13 kilometers of geotextiles are installed, a colossal task! Another important aspect is that the estate is cultivated according to biodynamic principles.
Currently, the estate produces three vintages: two whites and one red. All wines are vinified with indigenous yeasts. The use of sulfites is reduced to a minimum.
- Bouche Bée 2015: 100 % vidal. Fermented then aged on fine lees in stainless steel tanks. 800 bottles produced. 20 $.
- Matière à Discussion 2015: 100% vidal. Malolactic fermentation then aged for 5 months in 5th to 6th use oak barrels. 3,000 bottles produced. 20$.
- Les Entêtés 2015: a blend of pinot noir (90%) and gamaret (10%). The pinot noir is fermented and then aged in both tank and barrel. The Gamaret, only in stainless steel tanks (malolactic fermentation for both). 1,500 bottles produced. 22,60$
Bad news, there are no more bottles available! The domain was a victim of its success. So be patient if you want to taste the next vintage that will be released in late spring 2017. Next year, the winery also plans to produce a natural sparkling wine and a rosé. He also plans to harvest a small amount of albariño, perhaps enough to produce some 200 bottles in 2018. Within a few years, the winery plans to reach a production of 15,000 bottles per year.
Visit Domaine du Nival
The estate is open to the public since summer 2015! I cannot recommend enough that you visit Denis and Mathieu. The two friendly winemakers will be delighted to share their passion with you and let you discover their wines. But you will have to be patient and wait for next spring 😉 In terms of landscape, and having already visited a few vineyards in the Belle Province, this is for me the most beautiful vineyard in Quebec! At the top of the hill where the albariño and the petite arvine are planted, the panorama on the Yamaska river is superb!