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Nov 17, 2009 03:48 AM

Best SAQ in Montreal (plateau-ish) for American (USA) wines ?

(moderator, this is a local topic, not to be moved to the wine forum, I cannot buy wine in the USA or have them shipped here, so there is no point of asking everyone everywhere, thanks.)


I'm going to visit family in France for christmas and they are asking for American wines.

I looked at the Laurier store and they only have a small selection (including the rolling-stone wine that I'm not certain I should spend money on it).

And, if you have suggestions for bordeaux like wines; or typical American wines (I'm not very familiar with the Zinfandel variety);



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  1. The Ridge Geyserville and Lytton Springs zinfandels are usually great. Only place in town with both in stock right now (both 2007) is 2675 Van Horne.

    1. Below are a couple of Cali wines made in a French style. The first is available at several location and online from the SAQ. The second may be more difficult for you. They are from a producer called Bonny Doon. Nathalie Maclean, the Ottawa based wine writer has suggested them. I have bought some but not drank yet. The Gazette writer suggested a vineyard by the name of Etude when I asked him about American wine. Although the SAQ seems to be low on this brand right now, you may want to keep your eye out for them. If your looking for more expensive wines, Caymus vineyards makes great stuff IHMO. Hope this helps.
      Le Cigare Volant Californie 2004
      Code SAQ : 10253386
      Mourvèdre Old Telegram Californie 2004
      Code SAQ : 10218661

      1. From a Quebecer's standpoint, the biggest problem with US wines is their low QPR. You can almost always find less expensive -- often much less expensive -- equivalents from elsewhere. The Bonny Doon wines that stephlovestoeat mentions are cases in point: both are pleasant, easy drinking wines that, at least in comparative tastings, pale beside the similarly priced wines they emulate (Châteauneuf-du-Papes in this case).

        Which is one of the reasons why Mr F's suggestions are interesting. Aside from a few experimental plots in the Languedoc, France doesn't do Zinfandel. The 2007 Lytton Spring and Geyserville are both excellent and have both come in 10% cheaper than earlier vintages (not to mention about 20% cheaper than in Ontario). Both are Zin-dominated field blends, the other grape varieties giving them structure, balance and longevity as well as a Rhone/Bordeaux-ish character. Both are delicious young yet capable of aging ten years or more (a 1992 Lytton was just singing last spring; a bunch of wine geeks I served it double-blind to were enchanted -- moaning even -- and several pegged it as an old Bordeaux from a very ripe vintage). Once at an offline at Le P'tit Plateau, a glass of Geyserville sent to chef Loivel, a Bordeaux native, caused him to leave the kitchen, come over to the table and inquire about the wine, his first-ever Zin. French wine lovers of my acquaintance also love Ridge's labels. Plus, if they know anything about California wines, they'll probably have heard of Ridge, one of the state's iconic wineries.

        For all intents and purposes, most California Pinot Noirs should be thought of as different animals from red Burgundies. One wine representative of the style that's currently available at the SAQ is the 2007 Belle Glos Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley ($54, 10353416). Quantities are limited and the wine always flies off the shelves, but a few bottles are still to be found, including at the Jean Talon Station store. There's also a less expensive Meiomi bottling from Sonoma Coast ($31, 10944208), though I've never tried it.

        For overall selection of California wines, the best store close to the Plateau is probably the outlet on Beaubien a block east of St-Hubert.

        And note that this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, November 21 and 22, buying $100 or more of wines or spirits gets you a gift card worth 15% of the purchase price.

        3 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          You're quite right about the QPR. I took note of the suggestions you made and looked them up at wine shops in the San Diego area (I'm going there in a few weeks). All the bottles were around half the price that the SAQ sells them for. I was looking for some interesting wines to buy there and bring home. I'll try to pick up your suggestions. You have peaked my curiosity. Thanks

          1. re: stephlovestoeat

            Try to get something unavailable here instead like something from Cliff Lede Vineyard for example.

            1. re: Campofiorin

              Thanks for the tip. Any other suggestions would be welcomed

        2. Out of curiosity, how are you getting the wine to France? In your luggage?

          I'm also visiting family in Europe over Xmas tand was thinking taking along some local goodies too.

          1. It's not from the Zinfandel variety but I like Pinot Noir from Oregon like this one:

            Pinot noir Eola Hills Orégon 2007 , Code SAQ : 10947759

            And this Merlot from Washington State:

            Merlot Genesis Hogue Cellars Columbia Valley Washington 2006 , Code SAQ : 10709056


            4 Replies
            1. re: Foie Gras Lover

              Have had a miserable time finding any Pinot Noir from Oregon or Washington state in Montreal. Seems like it would be a sure-fire import for the SAQ (clerks I've talked to say they fly off the shelves when they manage to get a few bottles in), I just don't understand the dearth or representation. Any suggestion for what location they might be in stock more often?

              Noir Cafe
              3035 Cote Rosemont, Trois-Rivieres, QC G8Y4R9, CA

              1. re: wokhei

                "Any suggestion for what location they might be in stock more often?"

                Have a look for yourself:


                1. re: wokhei

                  Or use the Advanced Search function on, setting the search criteria for red wine or Pinot Noir and Oregon or Washington. Here's the current listing for all red Pinot Noirs from Oregon:

                  1. re: carswell

                    That's great. Thanks for the insight!