Monday, June 22. 2015
June 22nd 2015
Earlier this month, distinguished wine writer and an old personal friend of mine, Tony Aspler, was in Nova Scotia visiting many of our wineries and to act as guest speaker at the launch event for the 2014 vintage Tidal Bay wines.
For those who may not be fully familiar with Tidal Bay, it is an Appellation designed to showcase the inherent and distinctive qualities of white wines created by Nova Scotia’s unique terroir. Since the inception of the Tidal Bay concept, I have served as a member of the Independent Tasting Panel which blind tastes all entries submitted by the various participating wineries. In order to earn the right to use the Tidal Bay designation, wines must conform to rigorous requirements with respect to permitted grape varieties, style and percentages of each grape allowed in the blend. The wines must exhibit Nova Scotia signature fresh fruit, with characteristic lively acidity, crispness and minerality.
This year’s gala launch event was held on Thursday, June 5th at the Halifax Marriot Harbourfront Hotel. Over 250 people were on hand to taste wines from 11 of the 12 wineries that successfully earned the designation for 2014. The 12th winery, Lightfoot & Wolfville, has yet to open its doors. I will be writing more about this amazing yet-to-be winery in the near future. In his remarks, Tony Aspler spoke glowingly of Tidal Bay as a brilliant concept which should be Nova Scotia’s calling card in international markets. He went on to say that it should be on the wine lists of fish restaurants in London, Paris and New York, as well as Chinese and Japanese restaurants. Clearly, this internationally respected expert believes Tidal Bay wines have earned a place among the fine wines of the world. It was also pretty evident that the enthusiastic participants who had the opportunity to taste and compare each winery’s interpretation of Tidal Bay came away with a sense of pride and real appreciation for what Tidal Bay is all about.
All eleven of the 2014 Tidal Bay wines in general release are now available at NSLC Stores. Some may also be found at Private Wine Stores, Farmers Markets and directly from the wineries. Do try as many as you can. As a member of the Independent Tasting Panel, I believe each is enjoyable in its own way and I stand behind them all.
The Wines of Catena Alamos Chardonnay 2013, Mendoza, Argentina 13.5% $14.99 (Special Price $1 off) NSLC General List Lemon citrus, background tropical fruit and light toasty and buttery notes on the nose open the way for full-flavoured ripe citrus and yellow tropical fruit on the palate. Finishes with fresh acidity and contrasting nutty and lightly buttery notes. Well-balanced, harmonious and stylish. ***
The Wines of Catena Alamos Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina 13.5% $14.99 (Special Price $1 off) NSLC General List Deeply scented, attractively ripe dark berry fruit backed up by elegant cinnamon, clove and a subtle whiff of oak. Blackberry and redcurrant flavours fill the mouth with firm dry tannins, good acid balance and a splash of dark chocolate completing the picture. Polished and concentrated fruit make this a classic Malbec in the Argentine style. ***
Kleine Zalze Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2013, Wine of Origin Western Cape, South Africa 14% $12.99 (Special Price $1 off) NSLC General List Deep ruby coloured with scents of blackberry, raspberry, peppery spice and a whiff of herb. Rich blackberry and raspberry flavours play through on the velvety palate with a splash of chocolate, nicely structured tannins and harmoniously integrated fruit, spice and subtle supporting oak. Richly satisfying and outstanding value. ***
McGuigan The Semillon Blanc 2012, Australia, 12% $13.99 (Special Price) NSLC General List This modern style Semillon was developed by Neil McGuigan explicitly to compete with very popular Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. The effort has succeeded in producing a similarly lively and aromatic wine showing floral, lemon citrus and mineral on the nose and succulent limpid green fruit flavours on the palate. Polished, attractively balanced, very drinkable wine punching above its weight. ***
Flagstone Fish Hoek Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Western Cape, South Africa 12.5% $12.49 NSLC General List Always reliable, year in and year out, this is a classic clean, crisp lightly aromatic Sauvignon showing grassy, green fruit and passion fruit character backed by zesty acidity and good mineral grip. Remarkably stylish wine in this modest price range and ideal to pair with lighter summer fare. ***
*Good value in its price range
** Particularly good value in its price range
***Exceptional value in its price range