Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Vineyard in Canada’s Top 25 Wineries
By Veronica Leonard
If you have been watching Nova Scotia wines for some time, you would see that the Nova Scotia wine industry has leaped ahead in the last three years. In 2009, L’Acadie Vineyard was the only winery to win medals at the Canadian Wine Awards for their wines although the others won a lot of medals at other competitions.
Since 2009, all the Nova Scotia wineries have been exploring the possibilities of sparkling wines with Gaspereau, L’Acadie , Luckett, and Grand Pré all medalling in their sparkling wines in a range from bubbly fit for New Years Eve to fun bubbles like Luckett’s Helena an exotic sparkling combo of black currant liqueur and apple cider. A tip of the hat by Pete Luckett to two favourite British drinks Ribena and apple Scrumpy.
Both Gaspereau and Luckett picked up awards for their TidalBay, the new appellation wine blend of Nova Scotia. This gives a thumbs up for the Tidal Bay experiment which was launched this summer. See my column on Tidal Bay.
Blomidon’s Chardonnay medal is also a landmark. Most of the awards are based on the incredible skills of Nova Scotia winemakers to make hybrid grapes taste amazing, but Blomidon made a Chardonnay from the traditional European vinifera that deserved a medal.
Nova Scotia’s climate is not Chardonnay friendly. With a short growing season and cool nights, it rarely gets to the ideal sugar levels for a good Chardonnay, and so the resulting attempts are often thin and a little sour. When I visited Blomidon in 2011, they had suffered a frost kill on their Chardonnay the year before that resulted in insufficient wine to even fill the barrels assigned for it and it was being blended into their Tidal Bay.
2011 was a freak summer when finally the temperatures were good and the season long enough for the grapes to ripen By aging the wine in a blend of new and medium French barrels, winemaker Simon Rafuse was rewarded for his perseverance at staying with a difficult grape for Nova Scotia growers.
The Gaspereau win also reflects well on both Gaspereau’s parent company Jost Vineyards which is one of the pioneers of the Nova Scotia wine industry and the genius of Gaspereau’s winemaker Gina Haverstock.