Atlantic Terroir Proves Suitable for Aromatic White Wines

Good Drink, May 3, 2013, The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal
Atlantic Terroir Proves Suitable for Aromatic White Wines
by Craig Pinhey

Many New Brunswickers already know about the Tidal Bay wines from Nova Scotia, even though we haven’t been able to buy them at the ANBL…yet! That is changing right now, as Jost’s 2012 Tidal Bay hits the shelves this month.

Tidal Bay is an appellation that was created for low alcohol, off-dry, aromatic white blends grown in Nova Scotia. They have a lot in common with the Vinho Verde wines of Portugal, both being light, fresh blends that include aromatic grapes, although Tidal Bay wines are not fizzy, and tend to be more premium, typically around $20.

The wines are very fresh and fruity, and always have a floral component arising from the use of extremely aromatic grapes like muscat. The appellation rules stipulate a maximum for these aromatic grappes, in order to avoid a wine that is too over the top and one-dimensional. Although the creators of Tidal Bay – a wine industry group – wanted pretty wines, they also wanted wines with good acidity and balance. To that end, there is also a maximum residual sugar level, or to be more specific, a maximum that is tied to the acidity level in order to retain balance.

The wines must pass a taste panel each year to be accepted, to label them Tidal Bay. I am honoured to be on the taste panel.

Tidal Bay are not the only Atlantic aromatic wines that are currently receiving attention. Nova Scotia is abuzz with the release of the 2012 Benjamin Bridge Nova 7, an aromatic, fizzy and quite sweet, pink wine that is closer to Piedmont’s Asti then Vinho Verde or Tidal Bay, and sells for around $25. Not only does it sell well in its home province, they’ve also released the wine in Ontario the last couple of years to good reviews. I recently tried the 2012, and it is a delicious little wine, with pretty pink rose aromas and pink grapefruit flavours. It is lightly fizzy, under screwcap, and has a lot of acidity to balance out the ample grape sugars. It is only 7% alcohol. You can order Nova 7 or other Benjamin Bridge wines for shipment out of province. Go to their website for contact details.

Other Nova Scotia wineries make Tidal Bay wines as well as other aromatic blends, and single varietal wines from Muscat or Ortega and even Acadie Blanc can be very floral. The terroir is well suited to making fruity white wines with good acidity, and when you use the right grapes, you get attractive aromas that people clearly like.

Here in New Brunswick our wineries can’t make the Tidal Bay wines, as for now it is only a Nova Scotian appellation, but that does stop them from making similarly styled wines. I have had several very pretty, fruity whites from Richibucto River Estates, Motts Landing, Gillis Of Belleisle, and Dunham’s Run. Check them out this spring!


Wine of the Week
2012 Jost Tidal Bay $19.99.
The 2012 Jost is an excellent example of just what the Tidal Bay wines are meant to be. It has a lovely nose that is both fruity and floral, and the balance on the palate is just right. It is crisp, off-dry but not cloying. I’m so glad to see it here, and I hope other Tidal Bay wines from more wineries will follow.