Here’s a lovely thing to be part of: a budding, blooming wine region.
It means you can sip and sup and sing over a bottle in a restaurant and compliment the wine maker yourself. It means people are passionate about vintage variation because they were there in that year and they remember the weather and how it affected growth. It means you can overhear two youngsters having a heated argument over vine tucking techniques. It means you are saluted by waving vine limbs on your journey to work. It means …Tuesday Night Tastings.
Tuesday Night Tastings (TNT) are a monthly get-together of all the folks in the trade. A different winery plays host to the each event, with all the attending vineyards contributing a bottle to a particular theme: L’acadie, blended reds, Tidal Bay etc. The wines are tried, tasted, talked about, twittered and tap danced over. It’s an eve of ‘meet your maker’, of ‘who’s who’, an amalgamation of those in the trade and an insight as to what’s going on around you. I tip my hat to Susan-the-doer from Avondale Sky Winery for whipping the vineyards into shape and making it happen.
Last week’s theme: vinifera! (I added the exclamation mark).
Venue: new-kid-on-the-block Planter’s Ridge, owned by Ontarians John McLarty and Lisa Law.
The drastic seasonal climate variations means that the common European grape variatals (vitis vinifera) are difficult to grow here. The unsung hybrid grape variatals are more commonly planted for their brutish ability to endure the winters and for their frost-dodging early ripening skills (see previous blog ‘Who are these guys, anyway?’). But it’s play time here in Nova Scotia and vineyards are experimenting with a plethora of variatals like gleeful mad scientists in laboratories.
There is no better person to take to a social wine event than my Auntie Barb, the woman who invented the term ‘a splashette of wine’. We were over the moon to welcome a new winery to the region and to taste through varietals which may be a premonition into the Nova Scotia wine future.
The menu, ladies and gents
Benjamin Bridge Sauvignon Blanc 2013
An insy production of just 2500 bottles from some 13 year old vines. They slogged for a very low yield and froze a portion of the grapes to intensify the flavours. Unlike any other Sauvignon I’ve ever tried, a gorgeous rich marmalade nose that tasted like a sherbet lemon.
Blomidon Chardonnay 2013
Hurrah for Chardonnay! Only produced in good years , this unoaked fresh number spent five months on its lees to add a little creaminess. Rumour has it their 2010 Reserve oaked Chardonnay gave Burgundy a run for their money.
Grand Pre Riesling 2013
A tongue slapping Granny Smith apple from their 14 year old vines. It’s no surprise that this just won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia wines.
Avondale Sky Gewürztraminer/Riesling 2012
Lychee and honey and all things pretty. This blend has some popularity across Canada.
Avondale Sky Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir 2013
Harvesting only a smidg of Pinot Noir grapes, they quickly removed the skins from the pressed juice to make this white wine from the red grape. Very exciting.
Planter’s Ridge Riesling 2013
Straight out of the tank! A peep show of their unreleased cold fermented Riesling. Just 300 cases made from the small crop they took from their three year old vines. A white pepper nose and dandelions (Auntie Barb said that).
Luckett Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2013
It’s like drinking a trophy made from golden lemons. Harvested in Decemeber last year by local grower John Warner and put into action by our Mike. It’s an after dinner heart breaker.