“Canada’s Ocean Playground” boasts spectacular coastal drives, top-notch seafood, beautiful beaches, and pristine ocean vistas. Tidal Bay, a signature Nova Scotian style of wine made from slow ripening, high-acidity aromatic grapes, is quickly becoming another point of pride.
Each year a spring event hosted in Halifax’s downtown called 12 Tides put on by The Winery Association of Nova Scotia is the release of the new vintage of this blend from all 12 producing wineries. The packed event also gives attendees a chance to taste all the Tidal Bay’s blind at the Bishop’s Cellar booth. With the help of the wine store staff one can compare and contrast without any bias, and that’s how I chose my top three.
Tidal Bay is not a grape, or a specific area, but rather a style. In 2012, the wineries decided to create a signature style of wine evocative of the terroir and climate of Nova Scotia, with consistency from winery to winery.
The ideal Tidal Bay should showcase the bright, zingy, aromatic, and crisp style of the province. The unique characteristic that make Nova Scotia wine, and Tidal Bay, so distinguishable is the high acidity, but with simultaneous ripeness.
There is a panel of experts that tastes the Tidal Bay from all wineries each year to make sure they meet the standards, but that isn’t to say that each can’t have varying notes and flavours. That is overwhelmingly the case in the three I loved this year. The common thread in the improvement of Tidal Bay over the last few years is delicate harmony and balance of acidity, plus lovely layers of complex fruit and flowers.
To learn more about Tidal Bay, check out my post about last year’s vintage.
THE BEST OF THE 2015 TIDAL BAY
LIGHTFOOT AND WOLFVILLE 2015 TIDAL BAY
Blend: l’Acadie Blanc, Geisenheim, Chardonnay, Chasselas and Siegerrebe
Tasting notes: A beautiful and delicate representation of Nova Scotia, both stylistically, and in its tasting notes. On the nose there is first apple and pear, then sweet apple blossom. A hint of a starfruit note, too, with a bit of powdery minerality on the tail end. The palate echoes the nose, in feeling like you’re tasting the apple orchard but with a slight chalk note towards the end. The acidity is in balance with the intensity of flavour and length.
AVONDALE SKY 2015 TIDAL BAY
Blend: l’Acadie, Geisenheim, Vidal, Osceola Muscat, Petit Milo and Cayuga
Tasting notes: The flavours and aromas in Ben Swetnam’s Tidal Bay are always the most surprising to me, because their acidity, mouthfeel and intensity finds itself in the same range as the rest of its counterparts, yet the nose and flavours are always in a category of their own, almost more akin to a cooler climate Sauvignon Blanc. On the nose there is gooseberry, steamed peas and lime juice, with a touch of that asparagus-y funk. And on the palate, more of those greenish notes and perfume, with flavours of gooseberry, sweet ripe fig, and lime juice.
GRAND PRE WINERY 2015 TIDAL BAY
Blend: l’Acadie, Seyval Blanc, Vidal, Ortega and NY Muscat
Tasting notes: Grand Pre’s Tidal Bay this year is simultaneously fun and easy-going, but also layered and interesting. The nose is full of cotton candy, lychee, ripe kiwi and sweet red apple. The palate continues on that same path with lychee, sweet apple, ripe kiwi and lemon juice. A bright acidity helps to balance the real and perceived sweetness.