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Photo : Matt Morris

HUMANITY AND AUTHENTICITY

 

A wine promotional agency established in Quebec in 1997, Le Maître de Chai represents more than 200 wineries, serving both the Quebec and Ontario markets since 2015.

 

Over the past two decades, we have put together an enviable portfolio of world-class wineries and winemakers who are considered the elite in their respective regions.

 

To our clients, be it individual wine lovers or restaurants, we are proud to offer truly exceptional wines. To the wineries we represent, we take equal pride in our ability to communicate their stories. Wether these wine are sold on private ordering, directly through the LCBO stores, or both, we will find the ideal route to bring these wines to market.

 

To excel in this business, one must have, before anything else, a passion for not only wine, but also the people who are behind every bottle. It’s these enduring personal relationships we cultivate with our winemakers, restaurateurs and individual clients that is the ultimate reward.– Francis Martin, owner of Le Maitre de Chai

 

Our story began at the end of the 1980’s, when Gilles Martin and Josée Levert, founders of Le Maitre de Chai, traveled all over France searching for wines to stock their personal cellar. Along the way, they discovered not only great wines, but met truly memorable winemakers. Wether or not they realized it at the time, they were laying the foundation of not only a wine agency, but a philosophy of how to run a wine agency. We operate on the same principle today- that wine is ultimately about people.

 

Among the pioneers of selling wines on private import in Quebec, Gilles and Josée carefully expanded their portfolio by knocking on the doors of the world’s most respected wineries, adding one new client at a time. This passion for wine and desire to represent only the best was passed on their son Francis, who has been running Le Maitre de Chai since 2010.
Le Maitre de Chai is one of the most respected wine agencies in Quebec, and now we have set up shop in Ontario. But as we have grown over the years, we have never wavered from our founding principle: to seek out authentic and exceptional wines at all price levels and to transmit the passion and stories of those who make them.

Producers

Champagne Laherte Frères

Champagne, France

In 1889, Jean-Baptiste Laherte established the estate in the village of Chavot in the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay, a small sub-region in between the Côtes des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. In 2005, the 7th generation in the family, Aurélien, took the to lead at the domaine. A devoted practitioner of organic and biodynamic viticulture, Aurélien strives to produce a lineup of blended and single-vineyard Champagnes that deeply expresses the identities of his unique terroirs. The estate’s 11 hectares of vineyards are divided into 75 plots, each of which is vinified separately, with the final goal with assemblage to create a “terroir Champagne” in the truest sense of the word.

Website

Roland Lavantureux

Burgundy - Yonne, France

Upon completion of his wine education in Beaune, Roland Lavantureux established his winery 1978 in the village of Lignorelles in the Chablis appellations. In a short period of time, Domaine Lavantureux has become one of the region’s most celebrated and respected producers. In 2010, Roland’s two sons, Arnaud and David, took over the domaine. Together they farm 20 hectares of prime vineyards on kimmeridgian soils across the Chablis appellation, including key premier and grand cru sites such as Vau de Vey and Vaudésir, respectively. Their vineyards are farmed sustainably paying close attention to the natural biodiversity of the surrounding area. In the cellar, the vision of the estate is to produce intensely mineral wines that are reflective of the specific vineyard site.

Website

Rapet Père et Fils

Burgundy - Côte de Beaune, France

Domaine Rapet is based in Pernand-Vergelesses, perhaps the most beautiful wine village in the Côte d'Or. The domaine’s website makes their aims explicit : “A great wine is obtained from good grapes. Our entire focus centers around the minute and careful work required to tend the vines and soil. It is serious, applied labour…” Domaine Rapet’s red wines are full and supple. They taste great when young, while also having the capacity to improve with age. Their whites, from Pernand Vergelesses and Corton-Charlemagne, are very direct and focused, offering incredibly precise interpretations of their terroirs.

Website

Jacques Carillon

Burgundy - Côte de Beaune, France

2009 marked the last year the brothers Carillon made wines together as Domaine Louis Carillon, their father’s name. From 2010, the family vineyard is divided between the two brothers, each of whom has created their own domain. The Carillon name is undoubtedly one of the standard-bearers for chardonnay in the Côte de Beaune. The two brothers are gifted and unwilling to compromise in their efforts to produce spectacular wine. Both Jacques and François will certainly live up to the Carillon name. Maître de Chai represents both domaines in Quebec.The Carillon vines are old, which explains—alongside the hard work in the vineyard—the stamp of terroir in these wines. The elevages last 18 months in barriques, adding weight and structure. Those patient (and wise) enough to hold off from opening Carillon’s premier crus for a few years will be rewarded with tasting moments that are in themselves celebratory occasions.

Website

Yves Cuilleron

Rhône, France

Is Yves Cuilleron a winemaker blessed with the formidable instincts of a developer, or is he simply a compulsive shopper? He already had a portfolio of vineyards in Côte Rôtie and St. Joseph that were very interesting when we started importing them a dozen years ago. Since then, he’s purchased plots in Cornas, St. Peray, and in the Collines Rhodaniennes, all of which have significantly increased the scope of his range. We suppose that he’s presently on the lookout for a parcel in Hermitage…Still, Yves Cuilleron is a great wine producer. His red St. Joseph Les Pierres Sèches was recently made available at the SAQ—a first for Cuilleron. The critical reception has been unanimous: “his soft, superb syrahs have impressive textures.” Whatever the vintage, Yves Cuilleron’s syrahs create a solid first impression with their potent fruitiness and entrance with their fleshy follow-through. The whites are often opulent, but also have a certain finesse. All of Cuilleron’s wines are vins de plaisirs that also manage to be deeply serious.

Website