A Label to Love: Hinterland’s L’Imparfait Macération 2018

Wine Zine 05, January 2021

I recently sought out the L’Imparfait Macération 2018, a collaborative wine by Hinterland Wine Company and Québécois restaurateur David McMillan, precisely because of the art they put on the table. Pool Hall, a painting by David Doig, was all I needed to know. If the last name sounds familiar, David is the father of art star Peter Doig, who belongs on the painters’ Mount Rushmore. David’s painting for the label is simple: two young men in shorts leaning on a pool table. You can almost hear the hum radiating off the fluorescent lights. The balls have not been racked. There is no pressure, no rush. Doig uses a soft brush to portray a life that is vivid and slow. Floating in this turquoise glow, their connectedness is unquestionable. 

“The L’Imparfait Macération is definitely the start of something.”

McMillan told me that he and Peter believed the homage to his father to be fitting; both showing the painter apple didn’t fall too far and as a tribute to the province of Ontario itself. The wine is a testament to the art of belonging. The palate is juicy and lively, tasting like summertime in the place it’s made. Hinterland Wine Company is located in Prince Edward County, on the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s cold as hell in the winter, making it a less than ideal place to cultivate wine grapes. But the big lake tempers the cold climate enough to allow harvest producing a hearty grape, full to the brim with amorphous fruity layers. It is whole cluster skin-contact Savagnin, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay. Popping the top leads to fiery pyrotechnics, tea ferments, while peach kombucha tickle the nose. Silky florals for days. It tastes like the breeze. 

“Grow good, hearty grapes, let them tell your story. Let a good bottle of wine tell you where to look. ”

This bottle brings me back to summers spent softly meandering the 1,865 islands heading down the Saint Lawrence River into Lake Ontario. If there was too much chop, we’d get out of the main channel to meander in the coves. Bobbing softly in the waves, dipping deep into an icy cooler of Labatt Blue, just guys lying and playing cards. 

Back in Alexandria Bay, the rest of the night would be at Romans next to the marina. The bar lacked charisma. It was made up of doughy old-timers and soldiers on leave from Fort Drum, always looking to roll in the slop. Some winners, a lot more losers. We’d play pool with the guys who’d wheeze about their rum-running families during prohibition, and then they’d try to sell us a set of stolen tires in the next breath. These guys weren’t shooters, just bearcats with loose lips. The L’Imparfait Macération is definitely the start of something. It’s the first of many days reminiscing on a well-spent youth spent with a pool cue in hand. Grow good, hearty grapes, let them tell your story. Let a good bottle of wine tell you where to look. There are specific tastes, particular works of art that make me look north, to remember home.