A little province in the east coast of Canada is carving out its niche in the world of wine. You might think Nova Scotia’s climate is too cool to grow some of the most distinctive premium-quality grapes in North America but we do! In the 1600’s, Nova Scotia was one of the first areas to cultivate grapes in North America. Fast forward to 2012 and Tidal Bay – Nova Scotia’s premier white wine – was launched as the province’s first named appellation. Nova Scotia (44º 39′ N) has approximately the same latitude as Bordeaux, France (44°50′N 0°35′W). Surrounded by 3 major bodies of water, our climate is primarily influenced by the sea making our winters colder than Bordeaux and it’s these bodies of water that help impact the terroir.
The wine industry in Nova Scotia has been 25 years in the making but it’s really only been in recent years the wineries are flourishing. And we’re getting noticed. Benjamin Bridge winery is getting rave reviews on its bubbly from critics. Treve Ring (winealign.com 7/2/14): “We’re talking benchmark Canadian bubble here, an ultra premium one, and yes – from Nova Scotia. Crisp, creamy and profound – the Brut is drinking fantastically now, but will continue to gain complexity in the years to come.” Anthony Gismondi (01/29/12) quoted; “Mind-blowing sparkling wines that would challenge any high-rated French Champagne.” L’Acadie Vineyards’ 2007 Prestige Brut won a silver medal at the international Effervescents du Monde competition in Dijon, France. Other vineyards that produce quality sparkling wines include: Blomidon Estate Winery (L’Acadie Blanc Brut and a blended Cremant); Domaine de Grand Pré (Champlain Brut – my favorite, traditional-method L’Acadie Blanc-Seyval Blanc blend); and Jost Vineyards (from Muscat and L’Acadie grapes).
There are 13 wineries in the province and all have had their share of accolades over the years.
The latest newcomer to an already amazing array of stellar wineries is Planters Ridge (no.14). Last Sunday, to celebrate the release of their rosé, Planters Ridge served up lunch in conjunction with The Noodle Guy.
Beet ravioli with quark cheese and homemade gnocchi with local smoked bacon in a beurre blanc paired perfectly with the rosé. I will be the first to admit that in the past rosé would not have been my choice of drink – too sweet first comes to mind. That said, today’s rosé is a gem. Originating in Provence, this light pink wine is a super hot choice for 2014. No longer sickly sweet, it’s an easy off-dry wine to drink, a good choice for young people as an intro to the wine world, and it doesn’t break the bank.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Being an enophile – of sorts, I am delighted to see the progress with Nova Scotia wines especially the reds as they are starting to catch up to the quality of the whites. The wineries are within an easy one hour drive from Halifax. Need I say more? Enjoy!