A Tide of Medals for NS Wines at #ACWC

On my recent wine tour in Nova Scotia, I tasted  a lot of lovely wines, so this week I wanted to see how they scored at the All Canadian Wine Championships ACWC. Surprisingly for such a small wine region, they did astonishingly well across a range of categories winning twelve medals between six wineries and a cidery.

The ACWC awards were hit by a tidal wave of wines from BC who took all the top awards of the competition and swept several entire categories, so for  Nova Scotia to win medals for 12 of the 33 wines submitted said they could stand up and be counted. Not all Nova Scotia wineries took part in the competition.

If you want to impress your dinner guests, here are some winners to have on hand. None of them will break the bank so splurge on a mixed case. Continue reading

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#ACWS2017 – Expect Greatness

Been there done that, tasted a whole lot of wine.

The Atlantic Wine Symposium 2017 runs from Sunday June 11-13 at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax, It includes wine tastings  winery tours, updates on the state of the wine industry in Atlantic Canada and workshops on new trends and wine making.

I had a foretaste of what was in store during my two day stay at  the beautiful Blomidon Inn in Wolfville when I managed seven winery visits with my husband Colin,who is my photographer and designated driver. For the record the 2016 vintage wines are sensational.

me sniffing 2 TB

So many Tidal Bays, so little time

Since my last visit four years ago, there have been major changes. All the wineries are expanding their number of fields under cultivation and their winery facilities. While their popular hybrids like L’Acadie, Muscat, Ortega, Luci Kuhlmann, and others continue to be the backbone of the industry, more European vinifera are also being planted. Most wineries have set aside an acre or two for experimentation with new vines.

Nova Scotia’s short growing season and the acidic soils of post glacial tilth and sandy clay loam have also proven to be ideal for the production of traditional method and charmat sparkling wine. All of the wineries, I visited have one or more sparkling wines in their portfolio.

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Striking gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships

I love reading the Awards list for the All Canadian Wine Championships  .It felt like old home week, when I could catch up on old friends and see how well they are doing and look for what wines to buy and wineries to visit.  As a former Maritimer, the success of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick wineries was intoxicating.

Avondale Sky Winery

Avondale Sky Winery

Last year, I visited Avondale Sky for the first tine,  a picturesque new winery built in an historic church that they had rescued from demolition and floated across the bay on a barge to its new home on their vineyard. The winemaker is a very engaging young man, Ben Swetnam, and I liked everything I tasted. Obviously the people at the ACWC did too.  They won double gold in single white hybrids for their 2013 Bliss, gold for their hybrid white blend Cheverie 2012, bronze for their 2013 Tidal Bay. and bronze for their late harvest Martock 2013.

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NS Icewine Festival wines

 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.  Continue reading

Winemaker vs Brewmaster Dinner – Who won?

The Halifax Club’s Winemaker vs Brewmaster Dinner featured in my last column was a major success. Lovers of wine or craft beer might like to know what winemaker Simon Rafuse of Blomidon Estates and brewmaster Bobby Zacharias of Propeller Brewing Company selected as their competing pairings for this five course extravaganza.

As an aperitif to start the evening off, the contestants chose light and lively to stimulate the palate. Simon Rafuse offered Blomidon’s Tidal Bay 2012, the new Nova Scotia Appellation wine which is a blend of select white wines which are juried before being allowed to bear the Tidal Bay name. Bobby Zacharias matched it with Propeller’s Honey Wheat Ale – always a favourite with the ladies.

For each course of the meal, the winemaker and the brewmaster explained their choice of a suitable beverage pairing. Guests were invited to vote for the what they considered the better choice with either a wine cork or a beer bottle cap. Continue reading