Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Benjamin Bridge

1694.  Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay (Nova Scotia)

When it comes to Canadian wine stories, most feature BC (and, in most instances, Okanagan or Similkameen) wines or Ontario's Niagra region. Despite its being on the opposite side of the country and the relative obscurity of the wines on the West Coast, I know fully well that Nova Scotia is the home to a growing and often well-received region of its own. Boo and I even took a quick one-day tour of the Gaspereau Valley when we visited Halifax in 2008 (unfortunately, well before this blog was started).

We didn't hear of or visit Benjamin Bridge back then but I've since been advised to reach out and grab immediately when I run across any of their wines. If memory serves, Elzee brought us back this bottle when she found herself in Halifax for an extended weekend for work.

Not only did Elzee do us a big favour by bringing back the bottle but she introduced me to an interesting wine story that I hadn't run across before.

Nova Scotia has an even cooler climate than BC's Okanagan Valley. It's probably more along the lines of our Vancouver Island and Gulf Island wineries. As such, the variety of grapes that can reliably ripen in the region can be limited. We're generally talking high acid, slow-ripening white grapes - not that there's the slightest thing wrong with that in this world of big, ripe, sweet reds. Well, according to this article by Jessica Emin in Halifax Magazine, "in 2012, the Winery Association of Nova Scotia thought it would be a smart move on its part to have a signature style of wine evocative of the terroir and climate of Nova Scotia, and consistent from winery to winery."

The article continues, "To call a wine Tidal Bay in Nova Scotia it must be of a certain blend of grapes, all of which are grown in N.S., and each year wineries are approved by a tasting panel to see that they fit the harmony. The ideal Tidal Bay should showcase the bright, zingy, aromatic and crisp style of the province."

Benjamin Bridge's Tidal Bay is made from L'Acadie Blanc, Ortega and New York Muscat. I remember wondering why BC's island wineries didn't look into L'Acadie Blanc since it was rather ubiquitous in Nova Scotia. Well, it must be playing a worthwhile role in this wine as we were certainly captivated. My note read, "Bright Fruit. Nice acidity. Nice introduction to Benjamin Bridge."

I understand that the winery's particularly known for its bubblies. Can't wait to get my hands on one of those.

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