Nova Scotia wine’s time to shine
Looking back at the year in local wine—standout drinks, big moments and exciting hints at what’s next.
By Moira Peters
Twenty seventeen was a momentous year for Nova Scotia wine. At home, we organized a successful Atlantic Canada Wine Symposium, hosted the WineAlign National Wine Awards and launched our 2016 Tidal Bay, the sixth vintage of our appellation wine. Our wineries released innovative new styles like Pétillant Naturel and excelled with new-to-us grape varieties like Scheurebe, Frontenac Blanc and Muscat Ottonel.
Outside the province, we made splashes at the Vancouver International Wine Festival and at the massive ProWein trade fair in Germany. Our wines won international awards and made appearances on restaurant wine lists around the world. Essential to the 2017 wine story is this year’s vintage. Grapes benefited from a long, warm fall with relatively little rain.
The results we will discover in 2018, but here are some highlights from this year.
1. L’Acadie Vineyards 2015 Vintage Cuvée ($30)
A top-notch organic traditional method sparkling wine using Nova Scotia’s flagship grape, l’Acadie Blanc. Delicate aromas of apple and grandma’s rising bread, a rich and balanced mouthfeel and an incredibly accessible price for bubbly of this calibre.
2. Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards 2015 Ancienne Chardonnay ($40)
Lightfoot & Wolfville received its biodynamic certification this year. I love the candied lemon-lime aromas and the acidity that fills this serious oak-aged wine with youthful life.
3. Blomidon Estate Winery 2012 Cuvée L’Acadie ($35)
This past June, after a day of tasting and judging more than 100 wines at the National Wine Awards, I was offered my pick of rare and premium wines at an evening celebration. This creamy, refreshing and balanced traditional method bubbly was the only thing I wanted.
4. Domaine de Grand Pré 2016 Vintner’s Reserve Riesling ($20)
If you have yet to taste Nova Scotian Riesling because you remember “Riesling” (which wasn’t even Riesling) from parties back in the ’80s, leave your brain aside and buy this bottle. Crisp, just off-dry and elegantly balanced, this wine’s classic mineral and fruit aromas will rinse your palate and memory clean of Blue Nun residue.
5. Avondale Sky Winery 2015 Léon Millot Rosé ($17)
Nova Scotian wine is great with food, and rosé leads the charge. This one is my favourite: It smells like fresh strawberry and cranberry and its dryness wakes up my taste buds. I also can’t ignore the season: This is the perfect turkey wine.
Honourable mentions: Petite Rivière Vineyards and Benjamin Bridge each released small lot wines that affirm our ability to make very good light red wines from Vitis Vinifera (classic European) grapes. Petite Rivière’s 2013 Gamay ($20) and Benjamin Bridge’s 2016 Pinot Meunier ($48) both sold out long ago, but they were darned good.
Badass bonus: The Supreme Court just heard a case that might finally lift the prohibition-era ban on transporting alcohol across provincial borders. If you hurry though, you can still smuggle some New Brunswick wine back home before it becomes legal, starting with a bottle of Mott’s Landing Vineyard 2014 Brut Classic ($27), another excellent traditional method bubbly, crafted in Cambridge Narrows from Frontenac Gris and l’Acadie Blanc. A fitting way to celebrate your rebellious nature.
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