Proud of Nova Scotian wines

Danny co-owns Innovative Beverages, is an importer of fine wines and is a CAPSAC-certified sommelier. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Earlier this year, there was a good omen for Nova Scotia’s wine scene. In late March, the provincial and federal governments announced a $500,000 investment in a wine analysis lab to assist Nova Scotian wineries. I’m usually not a fan of government investment in the private sector, but in this case I applauded the decision. It will help advance local wineries by allowing them to do the necessary science here at home.
I recently attended ProWein in Dusseldorf, Germany. ProWein is one of the largest wine shows in the world, with representatives from thousands of wineries around the world attending. Imagine my delight to find a fantastic Canada pavilion in one of the large halls and right in the middle were Grand Pré and Benjamin Bridge Winery.
Nova Scotia wines have arrived on the world stage! Even as provincial sales of Nova Scotia wines continue to grow, exports to other provinces, and countries also will grow with improved quality and focus.
In May, Halifax’s waterfront hosted the annual 12 Tides event launching vintages from Nova Scotia’s first appellation wine: Tidal Bay. Think of Tidal Bay like you might with Soave in Italy or Sancerre in France. The idea is to classify the province’s unique wines and give them a trademark identity.
The majority of Nova Scotian wineries participate in the annual 12 Tides launch event and produce a Tidal Bay wine, which must consist entirely of Nova Scotian grapes. Such wines boast bright fruit and lively acidity. Although the quality and sweetness profiles varied greatly amongst the line up, the production of a specific signature blend has been a great addition to our burgeoning wine industry.
We have also been receiving national and international recognition of the sparkling wines from great producers like organic L’Acadie Vineyards, and Benjamin Bridge. We produce top-notch sparkling wine here in Nova Scotia. With a climate similar to the Champagne region of France, and a large investment by entrepreneurs, I see wine tourism increasing dramatically, just like the golf tourism of Cabot Links in Cape Breton.
The last year’s highlight in Nova Scotia wine is the release of the first wines of Lightfoot and Wolfville Winery. Jocelyn and Mike Lightfoot have spared no expense in their pursuit of quality. With ideal terroir, a practice of organic farming, a focus on classic Vinifera grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and even stylish packaging, this winery is going to boost our wine reputation.
So what other wines from Nova Scotia should you rush out and purchase on a nice summer weekend? Rosé, rosé, and more rosé! The quality of our local rosé wines is so impressive; they make a great summer salad/seafood pairing match. Full of bright berry fruit and mouth-watering acidity they scream for an evening on the back deck of your home or cottage with family and friends. Other white wines like L’Acadie Blanc also provide good value, and go well with our local food.
Why not organize a get together, with everyone bringing a different Nova Scotian wine, and host your own Nova Scotia tasting event?
Under $25 wine review
Avondale Sky-webAvondale Sky Tidal Bay 2015
Nova Scotia, available at private and NSLC stores, $19.99
Beautiful nose of ripe peaches, apricots, and rose petals. Veers sweet with an immediate hit of ripe nectarine, pink grapefruit, and peach. Lovely balance of sweetness and acidity holding it together with a pleasant 9.5 per cent alcohol and a touch of effervescence. Quite mouth watering and tasty. Grill some scallops made with a curry rub. 88/100
Tidal Bay-webDomaine Grand Pre Tidal Bay 2015
Nova Scotia, available at private and NSLC stores, $19.99
Flavours of pears and ripe apples with pleasant notes of cloves and cinnamon. The palate is nicely ripened. Background of slight sweetness, the fruit flavours and spice really sing here. Without the nice acidity this is a wine that could be cloying, but it somehow dances on the tongue and delivers a nice long finish. Pair with local grilled fish. 89/100

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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