Moncton’s “World” Wine & Food Expo Turns 24

Moncton’s World Wine & Food Expo enjoyed its 24th iteration in 2014, running from October 25th to November 1st. What used to be a wine tasting has grown into a full week of dinners and seminars leading up to the Grand Tastings on Friday and Saturday, making it the largest festival of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

The big dinners this year were as extravagant as ever, and all for charity, featuring celebrity chefs Jamie Kennedy - who was in town to promote a new cookbook - and Moncton’s own Matt Pennell, who won his episode of The Food Network’s Chopped Canada and manages the kitchen at the Moncton Coliseum Complex, the site of the show.

I had a chance to experience Pennell’s work at a Torres wine luncheon/seminar during the week. He prepared several dishes to match white and red Spanish selections, fashioning some pretty authentic tapas.

The ‘big’ events are typically the Friday and Saturday night Grand Tastings, although this year Friday was quiet, due to it being Halloween. Wine lovers made up for that by showing up en masse for the Saturday afternoon and evening events.

There is always a good selection of wines at the show, some of which were awarded Wine Show medals from a judging held earlier in the year. This said, the number of Canadian wines was not impressive this year. Of the 350 odd wines featured at the show, only 23 were Canadian, from only five participating wineries: Pelee Island and Andrew Peller from Ontario, and Jost, Benjamin Bridge and Ferme Bourgeois from Atlantic Canada. We really should be better at getting our wines sold all across the country.

Ferme Bourgeois was the only New Brunswick winery, which is curious as the number of local producers has grown recently. They have had great success winning medals for their fruit wines - particularly apple, raspberry, cherry and pear - at national competitions, and have grape based wines coming along soon.

Nova Scotia’s Jost was pouring their Coastal Vineyards white, rosé and red wines, as well as their 4 Skins red blend, Tidal Bay white blend, Devonian Coast Tawny ‘Port’, and Selkie, a fizzy, floral, off-dry wine. Selkie is Jost’s answer to the hugely popular Nova 7, from Gaspereau Valley’s Benjamin Bridge, which was also poured at the show.

Benjamin Bridge is an ambitious traditional method sparkling house that also produces some table wines. They, along with nearby L’Acadie Vineyards, led the move to premium sparkling wine in Nova Scotia in the past decade.

In addition to Nova 7, they poured their white blends (Tidal Bay and Vero), their lovely, fresh Cabernet Franc Rosé, and their Brut, a dry, tart traditional method bubbly which sold at the show for $44.99.

The Wine & Food Expo is a great show, but it needs more CanCon.

 

Craig Pinhey is a wine writer, judge and consultant. Visit him at: www.facebook.com/Craig.Pinhey.FrogsPad.

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