#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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It’s Nova 7 Time – across Canada!

BB winery 3I discovered Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 last spring when I visited Nova Scotia. The friendly folks at Bishop’s Cellar, one of the province’s four private wine stores, described a marketing campaign for the Nova 7 annual release similar to that of  Beaujolais Nouveau.

They told me about  publicity that leads up to its Victoria Day Weekend release and  banners proclaiming “it’s Nova 7 Time!”   festooning an entire wall of their wine store stocked high with bottles of Nova 7. It’s routinely sold out as  the enthusiastic customers rush to purchase a summer supply.

This year Benjamin Bridge, the not so secret weapon of the Nova Scotia wine industry, is taking on the country. With the largest production ever for the small Gaspereau Valley winery, they have 11,000 cases of Nova 7 on their way to market in eight provinces and the Yukon. Only Saskatchewan and Newfoundland  have been left out in the cold. 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