Here are my top 25 wines from Nova Scotia, and like my Top 25 BC Wines, this has been in the works for the last few months. Nova Scotia holds a special place in my heart because I grew up just outside of Halifax, spending my summers in Cape Breton.
Although I’ve visited most of the wineries several times when I’m home, I’ll be visiting all of them over the next year again as I start the research for my third book, which will be exclusively about Canadian wines from coast to coast.
Nova Scotia’s wine industry may be small, but it has a mighty big potential, as I discussed with Starr Dobson on CTV News recently and in my regular column for Saltscapes Magazine. Therefore, this is a list will be updated regularly, so I encourage wineries and wine agents to get in touch with me to have their wine considered for evaluation if I have not yet tasted it, including more recent vintages (email@example.com).
You can also find a three-part video chat in which I taste Nova Scotia wines and cheeses with Janice Beaton, as well as a complete directory of NS wineries with pictures, wines produced, history and hours. Enjoy the taste of Maritime hospitality!
1. Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve 2004, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
Very toasty and crisp with a gorgeous baked bread finish. Vibrant white pear fruit on the mid-palate. Superb craftsmanship. Drink: 2012-2018. 695555000195 11% D 750 mL $89.79 Score: 92/100.
Celebrate life! Wow this is liquid exuberance. Moscato-grape aromas with orange zest and honeysuckle swaying in the summer breeze. Low alcohol, and some sweetness make this a great aperitif or companion to any spicy dish or one with a bit of sweetness like glazed ham, sweet potatoes etc. Pair with: smoked salmon, lobster, seafood chowder, charcuterie and Dragon’s Breath blue cheese. Drink: 2011-2015. 256289 6.90% MD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 92/100.
3. L’Acadie Vineyards Prestige Brut Sparkling Wine, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Terrifically toasty with bright green apple fruit and lime. Superbly crafted. Buy a case for all your celebrations, and open a bottle tonight to make it a celebration. Pair with: fried chicken, oysters, mussels. 11.50% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 90/100.
4. Benjamin Bridge Rosé 2008, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
Seductive aromas of fresh field strawberries on the nose. Lovely pale pink tint with a celebratory toastiness. Vibrant and alive! Pair with: pork tenderloin, duck, and lobster, Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Drink: 2012-2015. 695555000232 11% MD 750 mL $44.79 Score: 91/100.
5. Gaspereau Vineyards Black Dogs Riesling 2011, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
A superbly well-made riesling with lime, lemon zest and green melon notes. Mouth-watering with a long, satisfying finish and persistence of flavours, yet delightfully low in alcohol. Pair with: light to medium bodied white fish, cream pasta dishes, roast pork. Drink: 2012-2016. 624448094119 10.70% D 750 mL $21.99 Score: 90/100.
6. Gaspereau Vineyards Tidal Bay 2011, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
So pretty! Lovely, light and floral with a crisp, mouth-watering refreshment. Open a bottle and feel happy. Pair with: seafood and shellfish, salads. Drink: 2012-2014. 624448094041 10.70% D 750 mL $21.99 Score: 88/100.
7. Domaine de Grand Pré Champlain Sparkling Wine, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Almond toasty with mouth-watering notes of green apples and lime zest. This wine is named after Samuel de Champlain who mapped Nova Scotia during the earliest French and Acadian settlements. The wine is a blend of Seyval Blanc and L’Acadie Blanc. A solidly-made bubbly that makes a terrific aperitif. Pair with: aperitif, oysters, seafood, fruit desserts, cheeses. Drink: 2012-2017. 834630000358 11.50% D 750 mL $29.50 Score: 89/100.
8. Jost Vineyards Tidal Bay 2011, Malagash, Nova Scotia
Fresh, clean and floral like small white flowers in spring on a mountainside. So pretty and refreshing. Pair with: succulent lobster dishes, fresh oysters, fish and chips, Nova Scotia cheeses (including heavy blues), poultry, lemon-pepper seared tuna, calamari and fish cakes. Drink: 2012-2014. 624448034740 10.60% D 750 mL $19.99 Score: 88/100.
9. Domaine de Grand Pré Ice Cuvée, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
This blend of L’Acadie Blanc and Seyval Blanc grapes spent 12 months in the bottle on the lees, which gives it a rich, creamy texture. Vidal Icewine was added to enhance the sweetness and flavour. This lovely cherry-berry wine is rich and tasty without being too sweet or cloying. It’s a wonderful after-dinner drink Pair with: local seafood, fresh fruit, creamy cheeses, fresh fruit, tarts. Drink: 2012-2014. 834630000365 11.50% M 750 mL $34.50 Score: 88/100.
10. Luckett Vineyards Tidal Bay 2011, Gaspereau Valley, NS
One of the prettiest Tidal Bay wines I’ve tasted: fresh, crisp and floral with lovely replays of white peach on the palate. Drink: 2012-2014. 5632489550117 11% MD 750 mL $20.00 Score: 89/100.
11. Gaspereau Vineyards Brut Chardonnay, Gaspereau Valley, NS, $32.32 Score: 88/100.
12. Benjamin Bridge Benjamin Bridge Estate Vero 2010, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, $21.99 Score: 88/100.
13. Domaine de Grand Pré Ice Cuvée, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, $34.50 Score: 88/100.
14. Jost Vineyards Jost Vineyards L’acadie Pinot Grigio 2011, VQA, Malagash Peninsula, NS, $12.99 Score: 88/100.
15. Luckett Vineyards Phone Box Red 2010, Gaspereau Valley, NS, $20.00 Score: 87/100.
16. Gaspereau Vineyards Warner’s Vineyard Riesling 2011, Gaspereau Valley, NS, $17.99 Score: 87/100.
17. Luckett Vineyards Triumphe 2011, Gaspereau Valley, NS, $20.00 Score: 87/100.
18. Jost Vineyards Jost Vineyards Ortega 2010, Malagash Peninsula, NS, $17.99 Score: 87/100.
19. Luckett Vineyards L’acadie 2011, Gaspereau Valley, NS, Score: 87/100.
20. Gaspereau Vineyards Seyval Blanc 2010, Gaspereau Valley, NS, $16.99 Score: 87/100.
21. Luckett Vineyards Ortega 2011, Gaspereau Valley, NS, $22.00 Score: 87/100.
22. Domaine de Grand Pré Vintner’s Reserve Muscat 2011, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, $18.50 Score: 87/100.
23. Gaspereau Vineyards Barrel Select Lucie Kuhlmann 2009, Gaspereau Valley, NS, $24.99 Score: 87/100.
24. Jost Vineyards Cayuga 2011, Malagash, NS, $14.99 Score: 87/100.
25. Domaine de Grand Pré Domaine de Grand Pre L’acadie Blanc 2010, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, $15.00 Score: 85/100.
Which wines do you think belong on this list?