Sunday, June 26. 2016
Earlier this month, twelve Nova Scotia wineries released their Appellation Tidal Bay vintage 2015 wines. This is the 6th vintage of Tidal Bay wines to be released. Together with the now iconic Nova 7 and internationally recognised Traditional Method sparkling wines, Tidal Bay has become the most widely recognised benchmark for Nova Scotia’s distinctive, vibrant cool-climate wines.
I have served as a member of the Tidal Bay Independent Tasting Panel since its inception with the 2010 vintage. It has been an extremely rewarding experience to play a small part in this bold Nova Scotia venture and to see it achieve such resounding success.
According to the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, five years ago, only five wineries were producing Tidal Bay wines. That year, the NSLC sold some 500 cases of Tidal Bay. Over the last twelve months, twelve wineries have produced Tidal Bay wines. The NSLC has sold over 10,000 cases! Tidal Bay wines are also sold by the Private Wine Stores, Winery Stores and at farmers markets around Nova Scotia. These wines are starting to appear on shelves in other provinces as well.
Tidal Bay Appellation wines are ideally crafted to capitalise on the current trend towards more moderate alcohol and lighter food-friendly styles and can consequently look forward to even greater success in coming years.
Here are my reviews of all this year’s Tidal Bay wines. It is worth noting that each wine shows considerable individuality while adhering to the rigorous requirements of the Appellation style. My scores are also quite high, reflecting the high standards that the Appellation wines have now reached.
Planters Ridge Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia 11% $20.99. This is a hand-harvested blend of l’Acadie Blanc, Frontenac Gris, Seyval Blanc, Muscat and Vidal. The wine exudes exotic floral aromatics with scents of stone fruit, citrus, a light whiff of green herb and grapey muscat. Presents sharply focused green apple and citrus flavours in the mouth supported by signature zesty acidity and stony mineral, finishing with food-friendly drying grip. ****
Sainte Famille Wines Tidal Bay 2015, Estate Grown, Nova Scotia 11% $19.99. The blend here is Geisenheim 318 and Siegfried showing floral and very distinctive green herbal and smoky overtones. Crisp white peach, apricot with a touch of green apple and lime kick in on the palate backed by classic mineral and lively acidity with a gentle touch of residual sweetness on the finish. ***
Mercator Vineyards Tidal Bay 2015, Estate Grown, Annapolis Valley 10.8% $24.99 Made from a proprietary blend of Seyval, l’Acadie, and Petite Milo, this impressive example presents elegant rose petal scents and subtle orchard fruit with discernable ripe peach perfume. Green apple and citrus flavours take centre stage with prickly crisp acidity, mineral grip and a splash of creaminess on the palate. Refined and understated, it finishes relatively dry. ****
The Rivers of Avondale Vineyard, Avondale Sky Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia. 9.67%. $19.99 Intensely aromatic bouquet shows grapefruit, lychee, passion fruit, kiwi fruit and a light whiff of green herb. Stone fruit and pear flavours are backed by zesty acidity, mineral and a delicate touch of sweetness on the finish. ****
Gaspereau Vineyards Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia. 10.5% $21.99. Seyval, Vidal, Chardonnay and Muscat all go into this exuberant wine. Floral, spicy and distinctivly smoky Muscat on the nose lead the way for lively grapefruit, green apple and lychee flavours against a backdrop of zingy acidity and brisk mineral in the mouth. Shows judicious balance with a light touch of sweetness on the finish. ****
Blomidon Estate Winery Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia 10.1% $19.99. Fresh green orchard fruit scents are accented with floral and piquant green herbal notes. Bright green fruit flavours play through on the palate, showing green apple and citrus backed by crisp acidity, firm mineral and a trace of stone fruit on the finish. ***
Jost Vineyards Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia $19.99. Aromatic green fruit, minty herb and a hint of lychee on the nose shifting to green apple and stone fruit in the mouth. Finishes with well-modulated lively acidity and mineral grip, leaving an agreeable prickly sensation on the palate. ***
Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia $21.99. Opens with subtle though slightly shy floral perfume, mineral and green fruit in the background. Lively green fruit reveals striking lime flavour backed by characteristic vibrant acidity and firm mineral with hints of crisp peach and apricot on the finish. ***
Domaine de Grand Pré Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia $19.99 Pronounced floral scent with ripe yellow fruit, hints of exotic tropical fruit and a whiff of honey on the nose shift to green apple and stone fruit on the generously flavoured, lightly creamy palate. Finishes with clean, refreshing acidity, drying mineral and a light touch of balancing sweetness. ****
Lightfoot & Wolfville Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia $21.99. Opening floral and yellow fruit scents are accented with a trace of green herb. Delicate citrus and stone fruit flavours are supported by Appellation signature chalky mineral and bright acidity with softening creaminess and a judicious touch of residual sweetness on the deftly balanced finish. ****
Annapolis Highland Vineyard Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia $19.99. L’Acadie Blanc, Seyval and New York Muscat make up the blend here. Aromatics combine green and yellow fruit with grassy herbal and mineral notes. Rounded fruit flavours offer apple, pear and the merest hint of crisp stone fruit supported by characteristic lively acidity and mineral on the well-balanced finish. ***
Luckett Vineyards Tidial Bay 2015, Nova Scotia. $21.99. Made from a proprietary blend of L’Acadie, Ortega, Osceola Muscat and Traminette, this one evokes honeysuckle and subtle tree fruit scents with lightly honeyed yellow pear and ripe apricot flavours in the mouth. Characteristic refreshing acidity, firm mineral and a touch of residual sweetness round out the finish. ***
*Acceptable ordinary quality
**Good quality, everyday standard
** Very good quality in its price range
**** Exceptional quality, top 15% - 20%
**** The finest possible, top 5% - 10%