blended wine in quebec
we are just back from a great stay in Perce and journey around the Gaspe peninsula. We had good, sometimes very good indeed, meals everywhere and liked particularly 'La Morutiere' and 'La Maison du Pecheur' in Perce.
I was, as a non Canadian intrigued by the litre bottles of red wine in the supermarkets containing something described as 'blended by [whomever] in Montreal', but offering no further indication of the provenance, grape, or character of the contents. What is it and what is it like?
Well, it is usually known as plonk, though I suppose plonk could be a vin ordinaire of known provenance.
I'd have no reason on earth to buy that stuff, since I live in Montréal and can buy wine of known provenance and some modicum of quality (even in terms of cheap, everyday drinkability) for a lower price at the SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec - the government wine and spirits monopoly). Sadly, in little towns it may be harder to source a decent bottle of wine, though some supermarkets in towns and villages where there is no SAQ outlet do stock a limited range of SAQ-marketed wines and can order others.
Blended wines exist in other countries, even in France and Italy. Their only virtue is that they are somewhat "neutral" and consistent, though I've never bought them there as one can find vins du pays or even a.c. or d.o.c. wines at a very cheap price. They are basically wines bought in bulk and blended for a consistent flavour.
For various reasons, including local unions (the SAQ's unionized employees are adamantly opposed to wine and spirits sales by the private sector) and international trade law, only industrially produced, Quebec-bottled, non-vintage plonk with no mention of grape variety on the packaging can be sold in non-SAQ outlets. See www.chowhound.com/topics/438516#2914650 for a few more details and other posts in that thread for comments on the wines.