Instead of choosing one wine this week, I’m highlighting all the wines being poured at the Nova Scotia Icewine Festival. This event is being held at Domaine de Grande Pré with six wineries taking part this weekend and next, Feb 8 & 9, and 15 & 16. For the most part, these are wines unique to Nova Scotia, made from varietals and hybrid vines. They are ideally suited for the short Nova Scotia growing season and very flavourful. Each winery is featuring a white, a red and a dessert wine.
Domaine de Grand Pre are pouring Vintner’s Reserve Ortega -a must try Nova Scotia white. Although the grapes love the Nova Scotia climate and terroir, Ortega is prone to disease so has to be grown downwind of other grape varietals and is quite scarce. It is amazing on its own or blended with Vidal in icewine. Vintner’s Reserve is a robust off dry white table wine. tasting of pear, dried apricot and honey, layered with delicate floral notes and rose petal.
Luckett Vineyards are pouring l’Acadie Blanc. This is a hybrid that is to Nova Scotia what Chardonnay is to Ontario. A versatile white that is the backbone to most white blends and can be shaped by the winemakers to meet any occasion. This one has been briefly aged in Hungarian oak. Perfect for seafood.
L’Acadie Vineyard is pouring both a sparkling and a still wine. Vintage Cuvée Is a certified organic sparkling made from l’Acadie grapes which has won silver at the Canadian Wine Awards and the Atlantic Canadian wine awards. The same organic grape is featured in its Estate l’Acadie table wine with strong minerality and classic citrus aromas.
Sainte Famille are showcasing their Tidal Bay. Sainte Famille is one of the oldest Nova Scotia wineries with mature vines. Tidal Bay is the provincial appellation wine that is a blend of a number of proscribed whites. This one includes L’Acadie, Muscat, and Seyval. The taste is a blend of tropical fruits and apple with a nice acidity and depth on the palate. Ideal with seafood.
Blomidon Estate is also pouring Tidal Bay. Each winery’s version of this juried wine is subtly different. A different blend of the same grapes leads to an off dry wine with a taste that is floral, tropical fruit, lychee and grapefruit with a hint of sweetness.
Avondale Sky is pouring Summerville a l’Acadie wine with hints of grapefruit, apple and lime zest. Avondale Sky is one of the newer wineries that has been getting a lot of attention and is a favorite with wine tour groups.
Reds are a difficult wines to produce in Nova Scotia’s short cool growing season. So hybrids and blends are common. Nova Scotia winemakers are gifted in getting the best out of the varietals available and are always on top of new adaptable hybrids. You will not find reds like these anywhere else in Canada.
Grand Pre is pouring Vintner’s Reserve Millot. A soft layered aged Leon Millot which has aromas of plum and dried figs and flavours of cherry and dark chocolate.
Luckett Vineyard is pouring Triumphe from Triumphe d’Alsace grapes a medium dry oaked red blend with flavours of black currant and cherry liquorice.
L’Acadie Vineyards is pouring Passito. Made in the Italian style, it is an oaked wine from certified organic Marechal Foch grapes that have been dried before fermentation to intensify the flavours. It displays ripe cherry and chocolate aromas. Silver medalist at the ACWA.
Sainte Famille are pouring a dry unoaked Leon Millot with flavours of ripe black cherry and anise. Recommended with veal, chicken and cheese.
Blomidon Estate are pouring their off dry Sparkling Red BMD with aromas of blueberry, cherry and spicy floral notes.
Avondale Sky selected Miller’s Creek another rendition of Leon Millot with flavours of ripe apple, cherry and cinnamon.
It should be noted that both Blomidon Estate and Sainte Famille are known for killer Baco Noir which are sold out within weeks of being released. I had to browbeat Ste Famille’s owner/winemaker Suzanne Corkum to sell me two bottles from her private collection on my last visit.
Although this is the Icewine Festival, there are surprisingly few icewines being poured at this event but there is a wide array of dessert wines to please anybody’s palate and many not found elsewhere in Canada.
Grand Pré have two dessert wines on offer. Their Vidal Icewine combines flavours of apricots, lemon, blood orange and marmalade and their iced fruit wine Pomme d’Or made from old and new apple varieties with flavours of apple, apricot and caramel.
Luckett Vineyards are also highlighting fruit wine with their Cordelia Blackberry Port recommended with chocolate fondue or cheese cake.
L’Acadie Vineyards are pouring their organic traditional method Sparkling Rosé made from Marechal Foch grapes with aromas of cherry and cranberry.
Ste Famille are renowned fur their Maple wine made from Wentworth Valley maple sap which pairs well with apple pie or vanilla ice cream
Blomidon Estates are showcasing their Vidal icewine.
Avondale Sky are featuring Martock, their late harvest Vidal with flavours of peach, marzipan, dried apricot and quince.
Please add your tasting notes in the comments for any of your favourites of the showcased wines.
Subscribers’ Valentine Chocolate Draw
If you are enjoying reading the Wine Tourist please subscribe for email notification of new postings. All subscribers old and new will be entered in a draw for a selection of wine infused chocolate at the end of February.