2019 Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards dominated by Lightfoot & Wolfville
The 2019 Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards announced their winners this past July, and Nova Scotian winery Lightfoot & Wolfville took home 10 of the 25 top designations. The Annapolis Valley winery, which practices organic and biodynamic viticulture, earned Winery of the Year for the third consecutive year. They also received Wine of the Year, Tidal Bay of the Year, Red Wine of the Year, Dessert Wine of the Year, Best of Class Traditional Method Sparkling Wine, Best of Class Tidal Bay, Best of Class Red Single Vinifera, Best of Class Dessert Wine, and Best of Class Natural & Orange Wines.
Lightfoot & Wolfville shared a few of their titles. Their 2018 Tidal Bay tied for “Tidal Bay of the Year” with Domaine de Grand Pré’s 2018 Tidal Bay. And their 2014 Lightfoot & Wolfville Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut tied with Blomidon Estate’s Brut Reserve for both Wine of the Year and Best of Class Traditional Method Sparkling Wine.
The Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards’ judging panel were unanimous about the tie. Both wines are 100 percent Chardonnay, made using the Traditional Method and aged on their lees for years. Competition organizer Mark DeWolf, National President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) describes these Nova Scotia Traditional Method Sparkling wines “as having an enviable ability to deliver vibrant fruit flavours, back-end richness and a certain nerve and verve that is almost unparalleled in the sparkling wine world. Year in and year out these wines show themselves as our province’s best.”
According to DeWolf, “Traditional Method sparkling wines continue to prove to be the province’s best wines, but Riesling and Tidal Bay were also top candidates. Red wines, while not receiving the top scores, were strong, with the quality of production this year very high. I was glad to see a red wine from New Brunswick achieve a top score, as it proves quality wine production is possible throughout the Maritimes. We also can’t forget fruit wines. We had some very solid results from the likes of Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick and Lunenburg County Winery on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.”
In previous years, the Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards were held in Halifax; however, this year proved different. Instead, they held the tasting near Minas Basin, part of the Bay of Fundy and in the middle of wine country. “Our decision to move the annual competition from Halifax to wine country reflects our desire to remind ourselves that great wines are reflections of their place,” explains DeWolf.
Held annually by CAPS Atlantic, the Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards bring together the region’s top sommeliers and other wine experts to judge the wines blind. Judges were provided basic information, including the varietal, vintage and, in the case of Tidal Bay, the parameters of the style. The judges then pick only one wine per category (instead of multiple awards, like gold, silver and bronze). This showcases only the top wine and makes “Best in Class” a truly prestigious title.
“It was another stellar performance by local vintners,” says DeWolf. “Year in and year out, the bar continues to be raised. At the top end our best wines are reaching quality levels on par with the best in the country, and in the case of Traditional Method sparkling wines, the equal of some of the world’s best.”
Winery of the Year – Lightfoot & Wolfville
Wine of the Year (tie) – 2014 Lightfoot & Wolfville Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut and 2011 Blomidon Estate Brut Reserve
Tidal Bay of the Year (tie) – 2018 Domaine de Grand Pré Tidal Bay and 2018 Lightfoot & Wolfville Tidal Bay
White Wine of the Year – 2018 Domaine de Grand Pré Riesling
Red Wine of the Year – 2016 Lightfoot & Wolfville Ancienne Pinot Noir
Dessert Wine of the Year – 2016 Lightfoot & Wolfville Terroir Series Vidal Icewine
Best of Class
Traditional Method Sparkling Wine (tie) – 2014 Lightfoot & Wolfville Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut and 2011 Blomidon Estate Brut Reserve
Non-Traditional Sparkling Wine – 2017 Luckett Vineyards Phone Box Fizz
Tidal Bay (tie) – 2018 Domaine de Grand Pré Tidal Bay and 2018 Lightfoot & Wolfville Tidal Bay
White Single Hybrid – 2018 Gaspereau Vineyards Muscat
White Single Vinifera – 2018 Domaine de Grand Pré Riesling
White Blend – 2017 Gaspereau Vineyards White Rock
Red Blend – NV Luckett Vineyards Old Bill
Single Hybrid – 2017 Magnetic Hill Mascaret
Red Single Vinifera – 2016 Lightfoot & Wolfville Ancienne Pinot Noir
Rosé – 2018 Mercator Vineyards Compass Rosé
Dessert Wine – 2016 Lightfoot & Wolfville Terroir Series Vidal Icewine
Fruit Wine (blue fruit) – NV Magnetic Hill Bay of Fundy Blue
Fruit Wine (red fruit) – NV Magnetic Hill Mystique
Fruit Wine (overall) – NV Magnetic Hill Bay of Fundy Blue
Natural & Orange Wines – 2017 Lightfoot & Wolfville Small Lots Skin Ferment Vidal