Discover the Old World Flavours in Nova Scotia Wines

Mark DeWolf

Nova Scotia may be one of the most recent New World regions to emerge on the global wine map, but our wines are rooted in Old World traditions.

Nova Scotia’s premiere white wine style, Tidal Bay, was the first European-style appellation created in North America. The sparkling wines of the Annapolis Valley’s Benjamin Bridge and L’Acadie Vineyards are often compared in quality and style to Champagne, an Old World wine region with 1500 years of grape growing history. It’s not just our whites and sparkling wines that share Old World sensibilities, as many of our reds share the same light to medium-body profile, tangy acidity and savoury flavours of Old World reds, such as those made in Alpine regions including Northern Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

Traditional Method Sparkling Wines

Champagne has long held the title of the world’s most prestigious sparkling wine region, but Nova Scotia is quickly carving a reputation for its own interpretation of Traditional Method sparkling wines, as evidenced by the international awards won by our wineries. Less than a year ago, L’Acadie Vineyards won a silver medal at the Effervescent du Monde, a competition held in Dijon, France, and this month, the 2000 vintage of Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique Sparkling Brut was announced as one of 1 of the 14 best sparkling wines of the world out of a field of 300 of some of the most recognized Champagnes and sparkling wines.

Chablis Style Chardonnay

The steely, mineral-edged white wines made in France’s Northern Chablis region have long been the standard of great, cool-climate Old World-style Chardonnay. While much of the world has been challenged to replicate the remarkable complexity and freshness of this style, Nova Scotia vintners, including Blomidon Estate, are proving capable in some vintages of making crisp Chardonnay that are comparable to their Old World cousins.

Crisp, Aromatic White Wines

Many of the great white wine styles of the world are crisp, aromatic blends. Case in point, are the white wines of Bordeaux. Here, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle come together to make crisp, dry and lightly fragrant wines. In the Graves (a part of Bordeaux near the city) they are fermented and aged in oak, but in the Cotes de Bordeaux and Entre Deux Mers, they are lighter, crisp and more refreshing and may have some lifted floral and tropical aromas depending on the amount of the very aromatic Muscadelle is in the mix.

In the case of Chateau LaMothe de Haux, a winery located near Cadillac in the southern part of Bordeaux, Muscadelle makes up 20 per cent of the blend, giving their wine a vibrantly fruity, yet refreshingly crisp, profile. Nova Scotia white wines share a remarkably similar persona. They are blends of a number of grapes. Many rely on L’Acadie Blanc for a refreshing base but add others for structure and a dash of aromatic complexity. A good example is Avondale Sky Tidal Bay, a complex mix of L’Acadie Blanc, Geisenheim 318, Vidal and Osceala Muscat amongst other grapes. The wine won Best in Class and a Double Gold Medal at the All-Canadian Wine Championships.

Light & Fruity Red Wines

Nova Scotia’s cool climate makes crafting full-bodied red wines a challenge but it’s the perfect conditions for light, fruity styles that are similar, and easy going in nature as the wines of Valpolicella and Bardolino in Northern Italy. Leon Millot is a great example of a Nova Scotia red grape that produces light and fruity styles. The wines made from this grape tend to be fruity and easy to drink, the ideal accompaniments to mid-week dinner featuring spaghetti and meatballs.

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Discover the Old World Flavours in Nova Scotia Wines.

Occasions Recommends 

  • Piper-Heidsieck, France $64.99
  • Benjamin Bridge Brut, Nova Scotia $44.99
  • L’Acadie Vineyards Vintage Cuvee, Nova Scotia $27.79
  • Jaffelin Chablis, France $33.29
  • Blomidon Estate Unoaked Chardonnay, Nova Scotia $21.99
  • Chateau LaMothe de Haux Blanc, France $17.99
  • Avondale Sky Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia, $19.99
  • Masi Frescaripa Barolino Classico, Italy $14.99
  • Jost Leon Millot, Nova Scotia $13.99
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