Nova Scotia continues to be Canada’s hidden gem when it comes to wine. Producers in the Annapolis Valley and beyond are making reds, whites, rosés, bubblies, dessert wines and fruit-based bevvies that bring a unique sense of place.
Among the province’s best producers is Annapolis Highland Vineyards. Using grapes that are both estate-grown and sourced from throughout the region, they’re creating some of Nova Scotia’s most compelling and food-friendly wines.
See below for thoughts on their delicious wines and the food pairings that immediately popped to mind when enjoying a glass. (Sunny backyards, relaxation and enjoying with friends are also a must.)
Bonus: Get free shipping when you buy 12 bottles of any combination of the Annapolis Highland Vineyards wines below. Just pop the wines in your online shopping cart and the discount will be applied on the checkout page.
Not familiar with the DeChaunac grape? It’s a French-American hybrid named after Adhemar de Chaunac, a French-born pioneer in the Canadian wine industry, and is grown throughout northeastern North America. It’s a hearty, disease-resistant grape that tends to do well in cooler climates — and it’s also pretty darned tasty. Annapolis’ reserve bottling is 85 per cent De Chaunac and 15 per cent Frontenac, and features estate-grown fruit. Aromatically it brings plum, blueberry tea, blackcurrant and herbal notes that are delicate. On the medium-plus bodied palate there’s a smokiness that joins the dark berry notes, and enough acidity to work with the modest tannin and provide structure. Drink this on the patio with smoky barbecue ribs like the ones featured here.
Made entirely of the Marechal Foch grape, this rosé is deep pink in colour — think strawberry candy here. Aromatically, however, it’s quite delicate, with rhubarb, tart raspberry, watermelon and light herbal notes leading the way. It’s made in a bone-dry, racy style, with the raspberry and herbal/rhubarb flavours front and centre, some nice citrus rind notes and a decent dollop of fresh acidity that provides great focus and intensity. It would work nicely with grilled shrimp — here’s one recipe that features a little bit of spice and a citrus aioli that will work beautifully.
The Tidal Bay style wines coming from Nova Scotia are the province’s signature white wine, and it’s easy to see (and taste) why. Annapolis’ Tidal Bay is a blend of 50 per cent l’Acadie Blanc, 40 per cent Seyval, and 10 per cent New York Muscat. Tidal Bay wines are typically light, fresh and bring decent acidity, serving up green apple and citrus flavours with plenty of zip that’s ridiculously food-friendly. Serve this crisp white well-chilled and with pretty much any shellfish dish — lobster is the first candidate that comes to mind. You could do the classic lobster with butter, or the Taste PEI Lobster website has some great recipes for lobster that are a bit outside the box. (Start with the lobster mac and cheese and go from there.)
Get free shipping right now from Annapolis Highland Vineyards when you buy 12 or more bottles of the wines above! Feel free to mix and match. Free shipping will automatically be applied at checkout.
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.