Val Caudalies, a treat for the senses

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Val Caudalies, a treat for the senses

A few kilometres past Dunham and its lovely stone houses, you can’t help but notice a hundred-year-old red barn beckoning you to turn left. Here, nestled in the Appalachian foothills, is where you’ll find the Val Caudalies vineyard.

Published on January 19, 2023

A story of friendship

On the occasion of the vineyard’s 15th grape harvest, I met up with co-founder Guillaume Leroux. We took a walk down memory lane as he recounted how their adventure came about. Val Caudalies is the story of three 25-year-old friends, “young at the time,” he told me with a laugh, who had a dream but were also driven by a common passion. 

There’s no doubt that it takes passion in spades to buy 45 hectares and start planting vines! The property already contained 1,500 apple trees, which allowed them to experiment and bide their time as they waited out the first harvests, Guillaume remembered. As he related the enthusiasm of the early years and the creative spark behind their products, I began to imagine what 15 years of working the vine “as you would polish a diamond” might yield.

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Creativity and daring

As I sat on the patio where the tastings take place, the sunlight filtered through bottles lined up in a row. Gold and silver stickers adorning two bottles of vermouth immediately caught my eye. They represent the awards the products earned in 2020 at the very prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Not too shabby. Guillaume told me about their desire to create the first Quebec vermouth and, at the same time, bring this centuries-old spirit into the modern age. 

Now to taste this famous sweet vermouth. I began by assessing the bouquet and, surprised by the complexity and the vast array of aromas, I let out a “Whoa.” Guillaume burst out laughing and admitted his delight at my reaction. The combination of carefully blended spices and bitter absinthe coats the palate and leads to a long finish that’s both fresh and bracing. In short, I was bowled over. Could this vermouth be the ultimate ingredient for mixing up incredible cocktails? I certainly wouldn’t say no!

Domaine Cartier-Potelle

An enchanting location

“Val” refers to the fact that the property overlooks a valley and “Caudalies” is a French term evoking the long aromatic finish. My interpretation? Here, wines are enjoyed slowly, with a breathtaking view that only heightens the pleasure. In an effort to improve the on-site experience, several hiking trails were created. And during my visit, the exceptional vista was enhanced by the fall foliage—the perfect backdrop for an impromptu picnic. 

And in the end, that’s what the Val Caudalies is all about. Accepting an invitation to unplug. Enjoying finely balanced aromas. Letting your gaze wander from forest to valley—and, especially, savouring every minute. 

valcaudalies.com 

4921, rue Principale
Dunham (Québec)
J0E 1M0

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