Maritime Grapes: Tasting Nova Scotia Wine
One of my favourite things about the Canadian wine industry is the little pockets of the country that are on the very fringes of wine country, where a few pioneering wineries are continually testing the limits of what they can grow and make. These area are where some of the most interesting wines are made, and it’s really fun to track their evolution.
Nova Scotia is such a place – there has been a small but stalwart wine industry on Canada’s East Coast for several decades. I remember first trying some wines from this area about 10 years ago, and I was enticed by their ultra-crisp flavours and bracing acidity.
A little while ago I realized that I hadn’t checked in on these wines for a while, so I picked up a few to see where things were at. I was very impressed with what I tried, particularly the bubblies. Grapes struggle to ripen on the East Coast – this is not red wine country – so one of the best uses for these grapes is to make sparkling wine. I actually like bubblies better when the grapes are just a little shy of being completely ripe, because it means they have a vibrant jolt of acidity.
I wrote a story for Edify about Nova Scotia wines, which you can read it here.
Out of the few Nova Scotia wines that I tried recently, one of my favourites was the Benjamin Bridge Brut Rosé. Benjamin Bridge is one of Canada’s premier sparkling wine houses and their wines can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with real Champagne in terms of quality and general deliciousness.
I highly recommend you give these wines a spin when you get the chance. They aren’t cheap – and they shouldn’t be – because these are made out of high quality grapes in the traditional Champagne method. You get what you pay for.
Name: Benjamin Bridge Brut Rosé
Region: Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
Grape: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
Taste: fresh raspberry juice, strawberry jelly donuts, cranberry skin, buttered biscuits
Texture: vibrant fruit and savoury pastry followed by a tart-crisp finish