February 15, 2010 – North Shore News
Think Canadian sparkling wine and you’ll probably think “Okanagan,” and “Sumac Ridge.”
And why not? Their citrus- and apple-toned Tribute Silver sparkling Chardonnay — BCLS $30, with part proceeds to support the Canadian Olympic team — is a pretty good way to celebrate the Games. Or, lavish on your Valentine, for that matter.
However, you might be surprised to know that Nova Scotia has begun to flex its sparkling muscle. Move quickly and you can score a rare taste of L’Acadie Vineyards, when winemaker Bruce Ewert comes to town for Nova Scotia Day (Feb 15th) to pour his sparkling wines at Atlantic Canada House (AKA The Arts Club, Granville Island). Details at www.atlanticcanadahouse.com.
No stranger to Vancouver, Ewert was winemaker at Hawthorne Mountain and Summerhill before establishing L’Acadie Vineyards with his wife, Pauline Scott, who’s from the Maritimes.
Ewert says several factors led to them planting their seven-acre organic vineyard (which will grow to 10), near Wolfville, in the scenic Gaspereau Valley.
“If we’d stayed in B.C. we would have been the 151st winery. Here we were the ninth in the region . . . Besides, I’d always planned to get to Nova Scotia,” says Bruce, who adds, “One grape in particular turned my head for sparkling wine. And nobody had done it yet.”
L’Acadie Blanc, Nova Scotia’s most widely planted variety, does particularly well in this sheltered spot, whose slate and mineral, glacial soils are well sheltered from the windy Bay of Fundy.
“When you have a cool climate that can ripen grapes, it’s an ideal situation for sparkling wine, especially when you can make a sparkler with more fruit flavour,” he says.
The variety also ripens without high sugars, not the case in B.C., says Ewert, who’s also been very involved in developing practical wine standards for the new region. They include putting “made from 100 per cent Nova Scotia grapes” on the label, just so there’s no confusion.
It’s been two years since opening the geothermal winery, with full wastewater treatment, and Ewert is bullish on the future.
“Most wineries are keen on being unique. There’s an ocean of wine out there, so why not be different?”
“My opinion is that this area will become known for its sparkling wines,” says the winemaker, who notes that being “on the cusp” of being able to grow grapes, period, adds up to perfect sparkling conditions.”
We’ll drink to that!
We found the L’Acadie 2006 Brut Traditional Method had fine bubbles, with some nice bready notes, plenty of mouthfeel and good acidity with attractive green apple and mineral notes, and obviously deserving of its silver medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships.
The L’Acadie ’08 Ros? off dry sparkler (made from Marechal Foch and Leon Millot) packs a delicious, quite full, fruit-driven punch, with vibrant cranberry and strawberry notes in a very pretty deep garnet hue.
With such small production (they’ll hit 2,000 cases this year) you won’t see much out here on the wet coast. All the more reason to head down to Atlantic House, where they’ll pour the sparklers this weekend and L’Acadie table wines during the Games.
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