In the four years since setting up shop in Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley, Pete and Sue Luckett have expanded gradually their lineup of fruit and grape wines based on what works best in their little corner of Nova Scotia.
A native of Nottingham, England, Pete recognized the potential of the Gaspereau Valley, especially as it relates to the spot he chose for Luckett Vineyards. With warming breezes coming up from the Bay of Fundy, temperatures are relatively mild year-round, meaning there’s slightly less concern about more, ahem, extreme conditions in winter.
Luckett Vineyards do well with fruit-based wine, with a cross-section of apple-based wines as well as others made from blackcurrant, raspberry, blackberry and cranberry – or some combination of said fruit. Styles vary from the drier Evangeline Apple & Blackcurrant Wine to the Amelia Blackcurrant Liqueur dessert wine.
The Helena Sparkling Apple & Blackcurrant, meanwhile, is a fun, fizzy pink wine that brings Annapolis Valley cider and blackcurrant liqueur together to make a fresh, zippy aperitif — perfect for summer.
On the grape-based wine side of things, Luckett works with a wide variety of grapes — Siegerrebe, Vidal, Ortega and Muscat for whites as well as Cabernet Foch, Castel, Leon Millot and other heartier varieties for reds. Sure they're not Syrah, but they're hearty grapes beautifully rendered by Luckett and co. to reflect the Gaspereau Valley in the glass.
A must-try is the Luckett Vineyards 2012 Tidal Bay. Tidal Bay, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, is a style of wine made from a blend of certain grapes in a specific style that’s fresh, lower in alcohol and food-friendly. This one is made from Vidal and L’Acadie Blanc, and is as crisp and fresh as you could want in a summer white wine, with crunchy crabapple and pear notes and a splash of acidity to get the palate going.
The winery also works with both grapes and apples in making dessert wine produced from frozen fruit, including the Isolde Vidal Icewine and the Guinevere Ice Cider. (You'll also notice many of their wines sport the names of literary heroines.)
And that iconic red phone booth on their label? Well, you’ll just have to go and see the real thing — located in the middle of one of Luckett’s vineyards — next time you visit Nova Scotia.
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson paid his way through school hucking cases at wine shops. He's now the weekly wine columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press, and judges at wine competitions across the country. He Tweets & Instagrams @bensigurdson.