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David dreams of (natural) wine

If you want to get your hands on some of Montrealer David McMillan’s 2018 wines, you’ll have to move fast.

His collaboration with Vicki Samaras and Jonas Newman of Prince Edward County’s Hinterland Winery was last year’s hit among in-the-know wine geeks, selling out quickly not just here but also stateside, where they appeared on wine lists from New York’s Frenchette to Bibi Ji in San Francisco. “We were the first Canadian wine in several U.S. wine bars,” McMillan says.

This fall, McMillan released L’Imparfait Macération 2018, a naturally made, skin-contact white blend. “I hate the term ‘orange wine’—I think it’s incorrect and not a good term. This is a macerated wine. Forty days for the savagnin and less for the gewürtz—just to get some extra colour, flavour and tannins from the skin. The chardonnay was not macerated.”

He likens his winemaking process to building a soup, the characteristics of individual ingredients melding together to create something new and wonderful. His L’Imparfait Passe-Tout-Grains 2018 is made with pinot noir, gamay, syrah and a bit of savagnin. “Just to lighten it up,” he says. “I’m not trying to make dark red wine.” The wine was aged in neutral oak.

“Less is more,” McMillan says of his approach to natural wines. “These are under-made wines, [intended to be] super-digestible and super-chuggable. Crunchy, drinkable, approachable and simple.”

Each wine is priced close to $30, was produced in a nearly 4000-bottle run, and is labelled with the work of a Canadian artist (the Passe-Tout-Grains features “Let the End Begin,” by Kim Dorland, and Macération, “Pool Hall,” by David Doig, father of superstar Peter Doig). Two L’Imparfait chardonnays have just been released, one with Niagara fruit grown by Paul Pender ($35) and one with Prince Edward County fruit grown by Edgar Ramirez ($40). About 2000 bottles of each are available at

–Dick Snyder