Local winemakers from Benjamin Bridge, Blomidon Estates, Domaine de Grand Pre and Gaspereau have created a special brand: Tidal Bay.
Each winemaker came up with a blend for the first appellation wine for Nova Scotia within guidelines set by an independent committee.
Headed by winemaker Simon Rafuse, of Blomidon Estate Winery, the committee included two wine writers, a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation representative and two sommeliers.
Rafuse says he is hopeful all wineries in the province will participate next year. He says the new wine is already attracting lots of interest.
“It’s made to be enjoyed,” Rafuse says, “a casual lifestyle wine.”
Jurg Stutz, winemaker at Domaine de Grand Pre, says Tidal Bay is proving very exciting for the Nova Scotia wine industry.
“It was nice working together on a project. We have high hopes that this will be our signature wine that will really show what we can do best.”
The aim with Tidal Bay was “lower alcohol, a little bit off-dry, aromatic and crisp acidity,” Stutz says.
All fruit in Tidal Bay wines has to be grown in Nova Scotia and there are also regulations concerning winery and vineyard practices.
Benjamin Bridge recently released its Tidal Bay wine, 2010 Vero. Winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers says the Vero displays the hallmarks of Nova Scotia’s unique viticulture.
Winemaker Ben Swetnam of the new Avondale Sky Winery says Nova Scotia has a system similar to Ontario’s VQA under the Wines of Nova Scotia symbol with the lobster claw holding the glass of wine.
He notes Tidal Bay has an even more stringent set of quality standards as well as specific stylistic standards.
“Much like Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Tidal Bay wines can be made from one or many of a group of approved grape varieties. The public can be sure when purchasing a bottle of Tidal Bay wine that it will be fresh, crisp, easy drinking, seafood friendly, and most of all 100 per cent Nova Scotian.”
The Winery Association of Nova Scotia worked on this project for some time under the guidance of international wine consultant Peter Gamble. He was brought in because of his intimate knowledge of the BC and Ontario VQA systems, as well as his extensive knowledge of European appellation systems.
An appellation has geographical restrictions and other criteria such as what grapes may be grown, maximum grape yields, alcohol level, and other quality factors.
The tradition of wine appellation is very old. The oldest references are to be found in the Bible. Historically, the world's first exclusive vineyard zone was introduced in Italy in 1716.
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