Scheurebe from Nova Scotia? #TryThis
Back when VQA was developed in the 1980s as an appellation system, intended for Canada, discussions eventually broke down in Nova Scotia over the rules, one of which related to the allowed grape varieties. Ontario and BC were moving decidedly in the vitis vinifera direction, only allowing selected hybrids to be included.
Unfortunately this ruled out Nova Scotia, and Quebec, actually (other provinces didn’t really have a modern wine industry yet). VQA remains to this day solely a BC and Ontario thing, whereas the other provinces have been left to come up with their own rules. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI’s grape and wine industries depend heavily on a range of hybrid grapes, including some of the ones allowed in VQA, like Marechal Foch, Vidal Blanc, Seyval Blanc and Baco Noir, but not some of the most important grapes to the region’s industry, like New York Muscat, L’Acadie Blanc, Lucy Kuhlmann and the newer Minnesota/Wisconsin varieties like Marquette, Petit Pearl, Sabrevois and Frontenac. Other grapes commonly grown in Nova Scotia, like Castel and Leon Millot, are only allowed up to a small percentage of the blend in Ontario.
With climate change, or perhaps that plus better viticulture and winemaking skills, the amount of vitis vinifera has increased in Quebec and Nova Scotia (not the other Maritime provinces…yet), and now some great 100% vinifera wines are being made on an annual basis, including but not limited to traditional method sparkling wines. Nova Scotia has significant plantings of Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a bit of Cabernet Franc, as well as lesser known grapes like Pinot Meunier, Ortega, Gamay, and Hungary’s Kékfrankos (yes, Kékfrankos).
One winery, the relative newcomer Lightfoot & Wolfville, has a few rows of Germany’s Scheurebe and Siegerrebe, as well as others like Austria’s Grüner Veltliner, Switzerland’s Chasselas, and the aforementioned Kékfrankos.
L&W make excellent Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and traditional method bubbly, but I was really affected by their Scheurebe.
The best Scheurebe I’ve ever had was at Lingenfelder in the Pfalz, Germany, which was rich, luscious and exotic, but the L&W version is excellent for different reasons. It is delicate, floral, fruity, and has medium body and elegance, with balancing acidity. It’s a delightful wine, and relatively affordable for something so rare and special, at under $30.
Look to see more wines like this coming out of Atlantic Canada over the next few years. Maybe we’ll finally join VQA.