Ladies and gentlemen,
to the stage
For all you zingy, zippy white lovers, you will be pleased to hear of a new member. In 2010 Nova Scotia formed its own wine appellation under the name of Tidal Bay; currently there are 10 different wineries producing under this regional name.
A brief summary for those unfamiliar with this term
Short for the French mouthful ‘appellation d’origine contrôlée’. Like most French winey things, it all comes down to terroir*. terroir = land personality, a personality formed by a number of influences, including micro and macro climates, soil, topography, degree/seasonal days. These characteristics will have a gigantic flavour impact on any product grown there, so the French salute the land more so than the grapes. Essentially, grapes are the vessel to transport the flavour of the land into your glass.
*“It’s like defining something like religion or art with a few generalized sentences.” Mike the wine maker on terroir.
Certain grapes, viticulture and wine-making methods will complement the terroir more than others, these specifics then become the ‘rules’ of this appellation. For example, unoaked Sauvignon Blanc complements the Sancerre territory, so that is the grape and style used.
Whether people are aware of the term ‘appellation’, the recognisable name on a bottle means people feel comfortable with what to expect: a Rioja is usually a smoky, fruity, red; Chablis is a crisp, flinty white; Port is a fortified wine etc.
Take Champagne, the much ballyhooed and most famous of appellations. Champagne’s cool climate and chalky soils are ideal for Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Chardonnay. Producers can use one or a combination of the three grapes and make it in the traditional method. Whether you are familiar with the details of its production, most people will be aware that it is a sparkling wine, usually white. You won’t see the grapes or method written on the label, as these are the only grapes and method that are used.
Back to our story
The vineyards gulp in the breezes from The Bay of Fundy, which claims the highest tides in the world: two high and two low tides every day. A postcard of this valley scene can vary from snaky bulging rivers to mud-slide-slim abandoned river banks twice daily. And thus the appellation takes its name.
A man walks into a bar and asks for a
What can he expect?
A crisp, fragrant white: peach, pear, green plum. Rose, lychee and grapefruit, with a hint of honey on the sides of your tongue. ‘Fresh as the Fundy,’ as they say (well, not yet. But let’s spread it).
Seafood, seafood, seafood! The perfect pairing.
All the grapes must be Nova Scotia grown in the slate, sandstone and clay soils, and the majority of the blend should come from one or a combo of these four pioneers:
(a chapter on Nova Scotian grape varietals to follow soon) The blend can be added to by a whole other party of grapes, including: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Siegerebe, Chasselas and more. See list of grapes and wine geek details here.
Tidal Bays are normally fermented in stainless steel tanks to promote the natural flavours of land and grape. However, if the wine maker wishes to oak this may be in no more than 20% new oak barriques and cannot steal the thunder from the main act. The same applies to malolactic fermentation . This is a Monday to Thursday friendly wine, as the alcohol cannot range higher than 11%, with a minimum of 9.5%. All of these limits are set so the wine reflects the terroir, not just the tastes of its maker.
In order to be sold under the appellation name of Tidal Bay, the wine is
blind tasted by a panel of judges chosen from the best Atlantic Canadian wine professionals. Our Mike says, “It is a fun project for the winemakers and growers to produce a regional style of wine, that shows terroir and varietal driven typicity, while at the same time reflecting the subtle differences individual blending can have on a finished wine … Ultimately the whole appellation project is to promote the utmost high quality in winemaking and growing, the unique regional terroir, and the grapes and wines that consistently thrive in our little corner of the world.”
As of yet, there is too small a production of Tidal Bay for exportation. Nevertheless, this is an appellation to keep your eye on, as each year development is picking up pace and moving from trot to gallop. Have no patience? Eager beaver? Come and get it! It’s flippin’ BEAUTIFUL here!