Poised on top of a hill, Chateau Chantal was impressive. It was a massive building that not only housed their winery, but their impressive looking bed and breakfast as well.
The view from their facilities was the best by far. Vineyards, rolling hills, and views of the lake from both sides.
I wish I could say more about our experience.
The entry way took us through their gift shop which provided two paths to their tasting bar. We took the wrong path and it was only after waiting several minutes for a place at the bar that we were told we had done it wrong. We were directed to the other path where there was a waiting line, much like you would expect at a bank, where we needed to wait until we were invited to the bar. I suppose we wouldn’t have been so put off if there had been better signage, and as you can see in the photo, better utilization of the huge tasting bar. It was a warm summer day with plenty of visitors and plenty of staff, so their choice not to utilize their tasting area to the maximum efficiency was unfortunate. Bushmaster wanted to leave.
While we were waiting, I attempted to scout out a tasting list so we could be better prepared when our turn came. There were none to be found. I eventually swiped one from an employee station that wasn’t manned.
It appeared that they had some intriguing options so we persevered. At last our bid came but things were all business with very little conversation.
We made our selections of the following:
- Rose of Malbec
- Pinot Noir
- Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Noir
- Proprietor’s Reserve Trio – a red blend heavy on Merlot
- Reserve Malbec
- Naughty Red
- Nice Red – a red blend of Gamay and Beaujolais
- Cherry Wine
- Naughty White – a white blend of Chardonnay, Pinto Grigio, and Riesling
- Twilight – a blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Malbec
- Select Harvest Gewurztraminer
- Late Harvest Riesling
- Nice White – a semi sweet white blend
- Cherise- a blend made from distilled cherries and cherry wine
Our server showed very little interest in talking about the wines, and what information we garnered, we had to work hard for.
I liked the Malbec, but Bushmaster did not as he found it yeasty. The Reserve Malbec was a bit too raisiny for my taste. Bushmaster found the Nice Red to be syrupy but not overly sweet and the Cherry Wine to have an artificial flavor. Even with the red grapes, Twilight came off more like a white wine rather than a rose. The general concensus was that the Select Harvest Gewurtraminer was our favorite. Unfortunately we found the rest of their wines to be unremarkable and unimpressive. We learned later that their objectives were more about the bottom line and less about crafting fine wines.
For us this was a huge disappointment. It didn’t help that their customer service was totally lacking. It is hard to imagine putting forth the resources to build such a beautiful facility and then failing to provide a complete package consistent with the image they were trying to portray.