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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

Champange Laherte Frères

Champagne, France

In 1889, Jean-Baptist 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 over to lead 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. The vibrant, energetic and racy profile of the Lahèrte Frères Champagnes has earned them a reputation as one of the most progressive and dynamic rising stars in the region.

Website

Galouchey

Bordeaux, France

Domaine de Galouchey is the dream of acclaimed sommelier Marco Pelletier. Born on the south shore of Montreal, Marco worked for years at Paris’ hotel Le Bristol 3 stars Michelin restaurant and now owns Vantre restaurant in Paris, an amazing wine lover destination. Then Marco wished to produce exceptional wines from a superb micro terroir in Bordeaux which he found in Beychac-et-Caillau, 10km southwest of Libourne. The estate is a mere 0.94 hectares planted with the traditional red and white varieties of the Bordeaux region. The estate’s flagship wine is the Vin de Jardin, aptly named to counter the small production garagiste wines that became popular in the region in the 1990s, emphasizes the work in the vineyard (the garden) above all else and minimal intervention in the cellar.

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…

Website

Sottimano

Piedmont, Italy

The man in charge of the estate is Andrea Sottimano, who recently took over from his father Rino, who founded the estate. The family owns parcels in five crus and produce four distinctive Barbarescos, each vinified identically and aged in French barriques. As with crus in Burgundy, tasting is the best way to understand the nuances of each of these extraordinary terroirs. Fausoni is always the most floral, elegant, as well as being the most accessible in youth. Currà and Cottà, which surround the family residence and winemaking facility, are wines of great density and structure, wines built for the long haul. Pajoré combines the best of both, showing power yet with great finesse. The vineyard of the cru Basarin, which was purchased in 2002, is principally younger vines whose grapes are destined for the family’s “Langhe Nebbiolo.” As with tradition in Piedmont, Sottimano also make a Dolcetto and a Barbera d’Alba. The portfolio finishes with a tasty curiosity as Andrea decided to make a Brachetto, which is vinified dry, called “Maté.”

Website

Clos Figueras

Catalonia, Spain

Way back in 1997, Christopher Cannan, the founder of Europvin (based in Bordeaux), acquired Clos Figueras with his wife Charlotte. The estate consists of 18 acres in the heart of Priorat, due north of Gratallops. A few years earlier, several meetings with Alvaro Palacios and Rene Barbier, pioneers of the then-fledgling appellation, gave Mr. Cannan an opportunity to realize the immense potential lying in the soils of Priorat.Under the supervision of Alain Graillot, Clos Figueras produces four Priorats, three of them red. Their top wine, Clos Figueras, is produced from the property’s oldest vines. It is characterized by its elegance and finesse, and it would be a mistake to overlook its aging potential. Font de la Figuera, and Serras del Priorat, both from younger vines, provide an interesting introduction to Priorat, at reasonable prices given such high levels of quality.

Website