While on a recent trip throughout Atlantic Canada, I had the pleasure of roaming Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, visiting many of its wineries. This is a beautiful part of our country, situated around the picturesque town of Wolfville, a bed and breakfast community that offers great restaurants, stunning scenery, and some very serious wineries. It’s become quickly apparent that Nova Scotia’s variety of choice is the hardy and very Canadian hybrid L’Acadie Blanc. This complex hybrid was developed at the University of Guelph and is a combination of eight different Vitis genus species. Only a small percentage belongs to Vitis vinifera, of which almost all the world’s wine is produced. Of course, primarily chosen for its early ripening and ability to survive Nova Scotia’s frigid winters, I believe its continued success is due to its versatility of style.
Here are some of my favourites:
A great combination of racy acidity and rich body. Dominated by citrus and grapefruit flavours, it’s rounded out with aromas of cut grass and herbs. It’s a leaner example of L’Acadie Blanc that’s bone dry and lively.
With a month in oak and aged with some lees stirring, there’s some great weight on the palate, showing plenty of sweet spice and baked apples with underlining flavours of wet stone and vanilla. The length is long, sustained by palate-extending acidity.
This traditional method sparkling was aged for five years before release, resulting in a focused wine, with plenty of green apples and citrus fruit that shows off amazing minerality. It is toasty and refreshing with a very pleasant mousse of small persistent bubbles.
A blend of three hybrids, L’Acadie Blanc, Osceola Muscat and Traminette. The wine is supple and ripe with a beautifully flowered nose. The fruit is baked apples and tropical fruit and is an aromatic and refreshing summertime white.
As I’ve learned, there are many styles of L’Acadie Blanc available and I’m sure the market will dictate the grape’s focus over the coming years. For now, we can enjoy a variety of options as Nova Scotia’s winemakers experiment and shape their wines in this exciting and emerging wine region.
Sommelier Matthew Morgenstern of Vancouver’s Ask For Luigi restaurant recently made the long journey all the way to the East Coast for a little vacation. We asked him to take a very small break from that vacation to send along thoughts on his first encounter with Nova Scotian wine. Follow Ask For Luigi on Twitter at @AskForLuigi.