Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Coast to Coast

I've previously written on the blog that I've heard great things about Nova Scotia's Benjamin Bridge winery - particularly that they produce some bubbly that is regularly considered to be in the running for Canada's best. The unfortunate thing for those of us out here on the West coast is that we don't see much of their wine here. Boo and I recently popped the cork on a bottle of their Méthode Classique Brut that I surprisingly found in a local store and we'd tried a bottle of Tidal Bay - a white blend - that a friend brought back for us when she visited the Maritimes. But other than that, their wines have been a rarity for me.

Accordingly, I was particularly happy to see that Edible Canada was hosting Benjamin Bridge wines at a dinner featuring Nova Scotian cuisine as part of their Coast to Coast series of winemaker dinners.

Miss Jaq joined Boo and I for the Granville Island trek and we were the happiest of campers.

1929.  2013 Benjamin Bridge Véro (Nova Scotia)

I hadn't heard of Véro before but it is one the winery's white blends and, for this 2013 vintage, was made of 60% Chardonnay, 30% L'Acadie and 10% Riesling. The winery website describes Véro as their "dry classic...inviting citrus aromatics and striking minerality." I had a tough time keeping it in my glass - which I guess is a good thing - but I was trying to make it last while I salivatingly nursed the Finnan Haddie & Chorizo Chowder that was served up.

We were told that it couldn't have been called a Maritime dinner unless a chowder formed part of the menu. I don't think I could have been happier. I'm a big fan of chowders but this was one of the most memorable soups I could recall having the pleasure of enjoying. Finan Haddie is apparently cold-smoked haddock but every single bite was worth savouring. Boo and I both commented on how wonderful it would be to try and recreate this dish for the Dinner Club. I would have seriously licked my bowl clean (and Miss Jaq's as well) if I'd thought I could get away with it.

The dinner also featured scallops with the Brut. Smoked Salmon was paired with the Tidal Bay - being a blend of L'Acadie Blanc and Ortega. Butter-poached lobster followed with a Brut Rosé that I would do any number of naughty deeds to get my hands on a bottle. The dinner was concluded with a deconstructed strawberry shortcake that was served with Nova 7, the winery's now iconic, slightly off-dry blend of (largely) Muscat varieties that is popular for its light spritz - à la Moscato d'Asti - and low alcohol (around 7%).

Again, good luck trying to find some of these wines in the Vancouver market.

The great thing about this dinner is that we were introduced to some fine East Coast cuisine and got the opportunity to try a much wider selection of Benjamin Bridge wines that I'd have ever hoped to - short of paying another visit to Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, the bad part is that I likely won't get a chance to try any of these wines again - unless I know someone's who's paying a visit to Nova Scotia.

One can always hope.

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