Yes, Nova Scotia makes some awesome wine. Who knew?!

on 15/12/10 at 10:27 am


After working as a sommelier in one of Halifax’s oldest and best-known hotels, I’ve had plenty of experience speaking with tourists about Nova Scotia’s wines.  As you may expect, they always want to sample the local fare.  However, unless they too are from an area that grows hybrids, I am met with a very confused look when presenting the wines.  I explain to them the grapes we grow—l’acadie blanc, marechal foch, leon millot—and describe the style of wine they make.  On more than one occasion I’ve been met with, “Oh, just give me the Merlot.”  I sure don’t want to get into the fact that I said millot, not merlot, and I hand over the wine.  Often they enjoy it and I am met with a comment such as, “I thought it was too cold to grow grapes in Nova Scotia.”.

Now, we don’t grow only hybrids in Nova Scotia; in fact there are more Vitis vinifera planted every day.  I have tasted some mind-blowing Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay, as well as some very good reds such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. The best part is that the quality keeps getting better.

Nova Scotian wines are receiving more acclaim than ever.  L’Acadie Vineyards’ Prestige Brut is fresh off a gold medal win at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards, and the recently released Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique sparkling wines have been praised by many, including Tom Stevenson, one of the world’s foremost experts in sparkling wines who called them “seriously good with the rare twin-ability to show well when young and promise even more for the future.”

This brings me to my point: do we, as a wine region just on the cusp of more attention in the wine world stick to the virtually unrecognized hybrids we can ripen in our sometimes-harsh climate, or do we push the envelope and try to produce the better-known, higher-regarded wines made from Vitis vinifera grapes?

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