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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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.

Continue reading

‘Mazing Muscat

VQA regulations limit the use of hybrid grapes in Ontario wines sold through the LCBO even though the hybrids’ mix of European and Canadian grape varietals makes them very hardy and disease resistant.  The VQA preference is for European vinifera which do well especially in Niagara because of the long hot growing season and short winter.  In Prince Edward County, they have to bury the European vines over the winter to protect them. This year’s bitterly cold winter has damaged a lot of the European vines in Niagara but the hybrids have survived, causing some winemakers to take another look at hybrids as part of their plantings.

Gaspereau Muscat

Gaspereau Muscat

Nova Scotia’s growing season is so much shorter and cooler that they have embraced the science of hybrid grapes and have developed a wide selection of varietals that delight the palate especially  unique citrusy, flowery, aromatic whites that thrive in their climate. Although l’Acadie is the provincial staple, this week’s wine of the week is from a white hybrid that is incredibly versatile. It is wonderful alone, spices up the provincial Tidal Bay appellation wine, is a key element in Benjamin Bridge’s Nova 7  and really rocks when blended with Vidal grapes in an icewine.

The wine: Gaspereau Muscat 2011 $19.99
The wine is salmon pink and described as having intense tropical fruit aromas of lychee, passion fruit and pink grapefruit and a touch of fresh mint. Sweet on the nose, the wine is dry with a long grapefruit finish. Continue reading

Welcome in 2014 with NS Bubbly

Welcome the New Year in with Nova Scotia sparkling wine. Forget the French, Californian and other sparklers, Nova Scotia is bubbling over with traditional Champagne method sparkling wine.

Nearly 50% of Nova Scotia’s wineries have produced award winning, TM sparkling wine  – the  largest percentage per wine region in Canada. All have several sparklings on offer and several are almost sold out. TM or  Traditional Method sparkling wine is bottle fermented on its lees for an extended period of time – the longer the better and pricier the wine. Continue reading

Gather ye rosés while ye may

Chilled rosé on the deck on a glorious summer day.

I fell in love with rosé when I spent a week in Provence, France several years ago. Rosé is for sale in the grocery stores at ridiculously low prices and you can drink them for breakfast, lunch and supper if you are so inclined.

Most of my wine snob friends look down on rosé but I’ve noticed recently that more and more wine critics are letting down their guard and admitting that rosé has a place in the wine fridge especially in spring and summer.

This rosé that I’m sipping at the moment is IMHO the best Canadian rosé I’ve tasted yet and I make a point of tasting rosés. Like white wine, they don’t stain my clothes or my face. Continue reading

The Great Canadian Wine Match

Wine writer, Natalie MacLean, hosted The Great Canadian Wine Match recently asking for nominations and votes for the best Canadian wines to pair with Chicken, Beef, Pizza, Cheese, Seafood, and Dessert. The results are now in.

I heard about the contest soon after I got back from a wine tour in Nova Scotia and was delighted to see that many of the wineries I’d visited among those nominated. Sometimes I think no one west of New Brunswick has heard of Nova Scotia wines. However NS wine lovers came out of the wood work from across the country and kept most of them in the running.

I also write about Prince Edward County, Ontario wines as well so my loyalties were sorely divided. Surprisingly some of my favourite wines from both NS and PEC are in the top three and in my wine cellar. Continue reading

Local cuisine, wine & beer at The Port gastropub, NS

The wine tourist

The wine tourist

By Veronica Leonard

The Port gastropub is located in the heart of Port Williams, Nova Scotia,  fifteen minutes from Wolfville. It  is one of the best kept secrets of the Annapolis Valley. The Port  is a co-operative restaurant owned by a number of valley healthcare professionals which caters to a locavore taste in cuisine, wine and beer. You can check out their menus here.

From its location on the banks of the Cornwallis River, patrons are able to work their way through a relaxing meal while watching the spectacular ebb and flow of the Fundy tides Continue reading