November 4th, 2016/ BY Sean Wood

Nova Scotia has no problem defining who they are

Earlier this summer, 12 Nova Scotia wineries released their Appellation Tidal Bay vintage 2015 wines. This marks the sixth year of this increasingly successful, distinctly Nova Scotian wine. Together with the now iconic Nova 7 and internationally recognized traditional method sparkling wines, Tidal Bay has become emblematic of the distinctive vibrant style produced by Nova Scotia’s unique cool-climate terroir.

The original concept for what became Tidal Bay was the brainchild of well-known and highly respected wine-industry professional Peter Gamble. After more than a decade in winemaking and winery management, Gamble was appointed founding Director of the Vintners Quality Alliance. In that role, he worked with winemakers in Ontario and British Columbia to define standards for appellation wines, travelling widely and spearheading efforts to gain international recognition for Canada as a high-quality wine producer.

Subsequently, Gamble has spent a good deal of time in Nova Scotia, first as lead consultant to Benjamin Bridge, playing a major role in that winery’s successful development of world-class traditional method sparkling wines. He continues to work closely with Benjamin Bridge as well as with emerging star Lightfoot & Wolfville. Gamble fervently believes in the unique qualities of Nova Scotia and sees great potential for the region.

Gamble conceived the appellation idea in September 2009 and subsequently presented the concept to the board of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia later that same year. He followed this up with a formal proposal to the board in spring 2010, obtaining general agreement to proceed. The model was based on well-established European appellations developed to highlight specific styles of wines, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vinho Verde, Soave and Chianti, where establishing formal appellations served both to protect and promote these high-quality regional wines.

While other regions have pulled off appellations very successfully, as Gamble says, “it’s not a given.” Doing so requires a region that presents a really strong terroir in the wines produced there, especially when, as in these examples, a broad number of grape varieties are permitted in the blend. “Nova Scotia,” he says, “is blessed with this … there’s a really piercing, really defined sense of terroir in the wines. And to my mind, this terroir is as distinctive as in any wine region on the globe, with the possible exception of northern Germany.”

The development of the Tidal Bay appellation involved the creation of strict, new grape-growing and winemaking standards on a par with the world’s toughest, and the creation of an independent tasting panel to assess all wines wishing to use the designation.

Phase two of the implementation plan called for effectively marketing the appellation in a manner that consumers could readily understand. The Tidal Bay wine style was defined as “Fresh, crisp, still white wine with bright signature Nova Scotia aromatic component.” As Gamble further noted: “Nova Scotia’s very cool-climate, maritime terroir is unrivalled in the world for making this type of wine.”

The final step was to settle on a standard presentation that would clearly identify Tidal Bay wines for wine buyers. The agreed-upon format was a clear-coloured, Bordeaux-shaped bottle with the words “Tidal Bay” clearly displayed. Consumers could therefore be confident that the wine they were purchasing was authentic, had met stringent production standards and had been certified by a qualified independent tasting panel.

Nova Scotians have enthusiastically embraced these premium bottlings. 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 12 months, 12 wineries have produced Tidal Bay wines. This year, the NSLC has sold more than 10,000 cases. Additional quantities have been sold by the wineries themselves, both at winery stores and at farmers’ markets around Nova Scotia. These wines are gradually finding their way to stores in other provinces as well. On a recent trip to Vancouver, I saw a bottle of Tidal Bay along with other premium white wines, in the chilled wine section of Liberty Wine Merchants. With their moderate alcohol levels and lighter, food-friendly style, these signature wines should have popular appeal across the country and beyond.




90 Planters Ridge Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia ($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. A crisp attack in the mouth presents sharply focused green apple and citrus flavours supported by signature zesty acidity and stony mineral, finishing with a food-friendly, drying grip.

88 Sainte-Famille Wines Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia ($19.99)

The estate-grown blend 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 NS mineral and lively acidity, with a gentle touch of residual sweetness on the finish.

91 Mercator Vineyards Tidal Bay 2015, Annapolis Valley ($24.99)

Made from a proprietary estate-grown blend of Seyval, l’Acadie and Petite Milo, this one presents elegant rose petal and subtle orchard fruit scents with a discernable ripe peach perfume. Green apple and citrus flavours take centre stage with prickly, crisp acidity, mineral grip and a lick of creaminess on the palate. A refined, understated style, finishing relatively dry.

89 Avondale Sky The Rivers of Avondale Vineyard Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia ($20)

Intensely aromatic, showing 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.

89 Gaspereau Vineyards Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia ($21.99)

Seyval, Vidal, Chardonnay and Muscat all go into this exuberant wine. Floral, spicy and distinctively 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. Judiciously balanced by a light touch of sweetness on the finish.

89 Blomidon Estate Winery Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia ($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, initially showing green apple then citrus with crisp acidity, firm mineral and a trace of stone fruit on the finish.

88 Jost Vineyards Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia ($19.99)

Aromatic green fruit, minty herb and a hint of lychee on the nose, with green apple and stone fruit in the mouth. Finishes with a well-modulated but lively acidity and mineral grip, leaving an agreeable prickly sensation on the palate.

89 Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay 2015, Nova Scotia ($21.99)

Opens with a subtle though slightly shy floral perfume, mineral and green fruit in the background. Lively green fruit exhibits a marked lime flavour backed by characteristic vibrant acidity and firm mineral with hints of crisp peach and apricot on the finish.

90 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. Rounds out with clean, refreshing acidity, drying mineral and a light touch of balancing sweetness.

90 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 the appellation’s signature chalky mineral and bright acidity with softening creaminess and a judicious touch of residual sweetness on the deftly balanced finish.

89 Annapolis Highland Vineyards 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.

88 Luckett Vineyards Tidal 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.



Comments are closed.