Plenty of water
Lake of Two Mountains (Lac des Deux-Montagnes) is part of the river delta widening of the Ottawa River and forms at the Carillon dam lock, becoming once again a rapids river in Laval. The lake is over 43 km long and reaches 10 km at its widest, making it one of the largest freshwater areas in Quebec and a major asset for agriculture. And it is not alone, seeing how St-Louis lake is nearby in Montreal west.
A delayed growing season, a welcomed range
If water is always one of the key factors in finding a suitable vineyard location, it’s not only for its necessary water source. Large masses of surrounding water offer thermal regulation and delay the fragile early spring blossoming, while the temperature range between night and day allows for slow and steady grape ripeness.
Soil and sub-soil marine sediments
The area is where was once found the Champlain Sea (just imagine a water level 90 meters-high, enough to drown the Olympic Stadium to reveal only its tower). When the sea retracted during the last deglaciation, it left behind a soil rich in seashells and marine sediments, which are favourable to vine growing.
Why two mountains?
Several theories intersect, but it is said to be a reference to neighboring topography. Many maps since the arrival of Samuel de Champlain show the four “mountains” invading the lowlands, so the reference to the two mountains could refer to Mont Rigaud and Montagne du Calvaire in Oka, each flanking the lake. Another theory refers to Montagne du Calvaire and its “twin” which would both be visible when sailing at such height.
Plenty of snow
By its location and the fact that atmospheric depressions come from the west, the region is faced with intense snow and wind. Huge snowfalls however come with a bonus; it protects vine stocks from our Quebec winters, sort of like insulating. The opposite is true south of Montreal, where snow is not as present, and growers must look to certain techniques to protect vines from freezing. Buttage (in French) or earthing-up (covering the vine stocks with dirt), geotextile fabrics or geothermal methods are of precious aid.
Producers to discover
Among the winemakers who create the region’s enviable reputation is La Rivière du Chêne in St-Eustache, the Vignoble des Côtes-de-Vaudreuil and La Cantina in Oka. But there are also talented cider producers! Just think of Verger Lacroix and Verger Lafrance, both located in St-Joseph-du-Lac. Lafrance also makes apple eau-de-vie and brandy, vermouth and gin! Feel like tasting something even more novel? You should know that Intermiel in Mirabel offers a full range of honey wines of exceptional quality… particularly their Réserve cuvée, aged in oak.