What do you need to know about Nova Scotia’s signature grape, L’Acadie blanc? What is Tidal Bay and why is it Canada’s first stylistic appellation? Why is one Nova Scotia winery burying barrels of wine underground? Which travel tips should you keep in mind when you visit Nova Scotia wineries?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Amy Savoury, a certified sommelier and instructor of culinary and tourism studies at the Nova Scotia Community College.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- Why can you taste many different fruit flavours in some wines?
- How much are you contributing to the economy by buying Canadian wine?
- What do you need to know about Nova Scotia’s signature grape, L’Acadie blanc?
- How can you experience the creative spirit of winemakers through Tidal Bay wines?
- Which grapes will you encounter in Tidal Bay wines?
- How did the Tidal Bay standards first come about?
- Would you find organic wines from Nova Scotia?
- Can you buy Nova Scotia wines in the LCBO?
- Why should you add your voice to the Free My Grapes movement?
- Where can you find the grape growers who supply Nova Scotia wineries located?
- What contribution do Nova Scotia growers make to job creation?
- Which types of wine can you enjoy from Nova Scotia wineries?
- Why is one Nova Scotia winery burying barrels of wine underground?
- Why should you visit Luckett Vineyards?
- What might you be getting wrong about Nova Scotia wine?
- How did unexpectedly low temperatures in Spring 2018 impact Nova Scotia wineries?
- What flavour profile and food pairings can you expect with Lightfoot & Wolfville’s Ancienne Chardonnay, Avondale Sky
- Lady Slipper, Planters Ridge Rosé and Benjamin Bridge Nova 7?
- Why should you take a trip to a Nova Scotia winery?
- How did Amy become intrigued by the world of wine?
- When did Amy fall in love with Nova Scotia wine?
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About Amy Savoury
Amy Savoury is a certified sommelier and instructor of culinary and tourism studies at the Nova Scotia Community College. She leads tastings of Nova Scotia wines for restaurant staff around the province as well as other educational seminars on behalf of “Taste of Nova Scotia” through the support of the Department of Agriculture.
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Transcript & Takeaways
Welcome to episode 78!
What do you need to know about Nova Scotia’s signature grape, L’Acadie blanc? What is Tidal Bay and why is it Canada’s first stylistic appellation? Why is one Nova Scotia winery burying barrels of wine underground? Which travel tips should you keep in mind when you visit Nova Scotia wineries?
That’s exactly what we’ll learn in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. We’re chatting with Amy Savoury, a certified sommelier and instructor of culinary and tourism studies at the Nova Scotia Community College.
We talk about the latest development in Nova Scotia wines, which have a special place in my heart since I grew up in Lower Sackville, just outside Halifax. My mother is from Baddeck, my father from Mabou in Cape Breton. Amy joined me from her home in the Gaspereau Valley.
This conversation first aired on my regular Facebook live video a couple of years ago, so keep that in mind as the context for Amy’s comments. She occasionally shows us things on camera, so you’ll want to watch the video version for that. Also, you’ll occasionally hear me respond to viewer questions. You can be part of that conversation every second Wednesday at 7 pm eastern.
I’ll include a link as to where you can find us as well as the video version of this conversation in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/78.
If you want to discover great wines to pair with this podcast, sign up for my free, online video wine class the 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!).
Go to nataliemaclean.com/class and choose a time and date that work for you. I look forward to seeing you inside the class!
Okay, on with the show!
You can also watch the video interview with Amy that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this chat with Amy Savoury.
Here are my takeaways:
- Several things surprised me about the Nova Scotia wine industry: how fast it’s growing at 133%, the number of wineries which is now at 25 and the diversity of styles produced there.
- Amy gives us a great overview of the province’s signature white wine grape, L’Acadie Blanc, which can be made on its own or in a blend, as a still or sparkling wine. It’s definitely my go-to with Nova Scotia lobster.
- Tidal Bay is Canada’s first appellation based on a style of wine and it’s another signature of Nova Scotia as a blend of several aromatic grapes. Love the way they captured the essence of this wine: one story, many authors.
- We touch on the economic importance of winemaking to the province: one acre of vines planted created a full-time job. That’s good news given the region has the greatest untapped potential in Canada for land that can be planted with vines to make wine.
If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in the fascinating wine tips that Amy shared. You’ll find links to the wines we tasted, a full transcript of our conversation, the video version of this chat and where you can find us on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm at nataliemaclean.com/78.
Finally, if you want to connect with me personally, join me in a free online video class at nataliemaclean.com/class.
You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Heidie-Marie Fisher Pfaffl who, along with her brother, runs her family’s winery, Weingut Pfaffl, one of Austria’s leading wine producers. We talk about why the zesty, spring-perfect wine Gruner Veltliner is so iconic for the country and so versatile with food, among many other things.
Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a zesty Nova Scotia wine!
Amy Savoury 0:00
At 22 wineries we’re really small on a Canadian scale, but it’s the risk taking. And it’s the excitement and the passion and the innovation, for connecting with a place to produce wines that are distinctive of who we are. What really makes us unique that being young, we really don’t have a lot of rules and a lot of boundaries. And so folks are just kind of playing with it and see how it works out. And so far, I would say it’s been working out pretty great.
Natalie MacLean 0:31
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations? That’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie McLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions. My own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please and let’s get started.
Natalie MacLean 1:13
Welcome to Episode 78 what do you need to know about Nova Scotia his signature grape lackey the blown let’s title Bay and why is it Canada’s first stylistic appellation? Why is one Nova Scotia winery burying barrels of wine underground? And which Travel Tips should you keep in mind when you visit Nova Scotia wineries? That’s exactly what we’re going to learn in this episode of The unreserved wine talk podcast. we’re chatting with Amy savoury, a certified sommelier and instructor of culinary and tourism studies at the Nova Scotia Community College. We talk about the latest developments in Nova Scotia wines which have special place in my heart since I grew up in lower sackful just outside of Halifax. My mom is From the deck, my dad is from Malibu in Cape Breton. Amy join me from her home in the gasparilla Valley near Annapolis Valley. This conversation first aired on my regular Facebook Live video show a couple of years ago, so keep that in mind as context for Amy’s comments. She occasionally shows us things on camera, so you’ll want to watch the video version for that. Also, you’ll occasionally hear me respond to viewer questions. You can be part of that conversation every second Wednesday at 7pm. Eastern. I’ll include a link as to where you can find us on Facebook, as well as the video version of this chat in the show notes at Natalie McClain comm forward slash 78. If you want to discover great wines from Nova Scotia and other regions, sign up for my free online video wine class called the five one and repairing mistakes that can ruin your dinner and how to fix them forever. Gordon Natalie McClain comm forward slash class and choose a date and time that work for you. I look forward to seeing you in the class. Okay, on with the show.
Natalie MacLean 3:15
You probably know that Nova Scotia produces wine. But did you know that the growth in the number of wineries has been 133% since 2005 alone, there are now 22 wineries and Nova Scotia has the world’s only stylistic appellation, which we’re going to talk more about called tidal Bay. It’s beautiful, beautiful wine. Did you know there are 90 growers and that Nova Scotia is Canada’s coolest wine region. Not just cool isn’t Yes, you want to be there, but also ideal for growing crisp, fresh, refreshing wines. Our guest has led hundreds of tastings of Nova Scotia wines for restaurant staff And around the province as well as other educational seminars on behalf of taste Nova Scotia through the support the Department of Agriculture, and she joins me now. Welcome Amy. savoury Hello Amy. Hello Natalie. Oh, so glad you could join us so excited as a nova scotia gal myself, my mom and dad are from Cape Breton but Dec Mabu I am so excited to talk about our topic tonight and I know you are a huge advocate and proponent for Nova Scotia wines. Before we dive into that, Amy, maybe you can tell me was wine part of your family dinners growing up or how did you get introduced to wine?
Amy Savoury 4:38
Wine was actually never on our table gathering. It was the jug mill, right? special occasions we may have had the bottle of pet door come out. But definitely wine was never part of my life growing up. And it was really in university that I discovered it I went to Acadia and then the Grand Prix Weiner has just been renovated and Late 90s and I knew I left it but I didn’t know why.
Natalie MacLean 5:04
sounds similar to my history as well. And it was more beer and whiskey although I wasn’t partaking of that when I was younger, but can you remember the first wine you tasted? Like first one that turns you on to wine, even if it wasn’t Nova Scotia wine, but that first memory of a great wine that really got you intrigued with wine?
Amy Savoury 5:24
Absolutely. And surprisingly, it was Nova scotian. I just started working at demanda grandpre, this would have been back in 2000. So they were just doing their training. And you’re the winemaker brought us down to the cellar. And he poured us a glass of Muscat. And I remember just the floor ality and all of the aromatics I was absolutely blown away by it and I asked a very naive question. How do you get all that fruit in there or fermented it with the pineapples and the leeches? You’re the winemaker very humbly told me that no, that’s just part of the grape and it was at that point that I realised that there was so much To know and so much that I needed to learn and needed to taste to understand I was blown away by that wine. That’s a great story.
Natalie MacLean 6:07
And you know, Amy, there’s a learning point in there as well, we get all of these aromas that smell and taste like other fruit other than just the basic grape from which wine is made. But that’s because you know, the molecular structure of grape and wine can mimic those aromas. And we get that complexity. It’s why we have people like you leading tastings that people like me reviewing wines and not orange juice, as I have said in the past. So what did you do then? You’ve got intrigued with this, why? What was your next step?
Amy Savoury 6:37
So I worked on Chrome pray for a few weeks when they first open but I had dreams of being a marketer. And so I had taken business at university. I was at chrome pay, and after about five weeks, I got a job in marketing. And I took it and I was miserable. Oh, yeah, I did not like it. And there was a pivotal point in my life where I realised that it’s too short to be unhappy. And I felt that the wind was calling me back. And I called Hans Peter, the owner from Cray and I said, I’m not happy, I would love to come back. But the only position that they had open was a dishwasher. So I said, Great, sign me up, I’m coming back to be a dishwasher, or trooper. And you know, and that’s when I fell in love with the industry. I realised the back of the hose and how it operates. And that’s really kind of where I fell in love with wine are surrounded by people that were passionate and were making a go of it here in Nova Scotia and believed in it. And that’s really where I fell in love with Nova Scotia wine.
Natalie MacLean 7:34
That’s inspiring. Yeah, to do anything to get into the industry. So Amy, tell us a little bit about how important wine is to the Nova Scotia economy. Some surprising stats, especially when it comes to how much a bottle of Nova Scotia wine contributes to the economy versus a bottle that is foreign like an import why maybe give us some comparisons and surprising numbers. Yeah, absolutely really surprised me. And I think something that I feel really proud about every time I pop the cork of a bottle of Nova Scotia line, that overall square economy, a bottle of Nova Scotia wine, on average contributes about $36 and 62 cents, compared to a bottle of international wine contributes about $1 to our overall economy. So I always say that I’m an investor in this province every time I open a bottle, I’m doing it for the province to allow it to grow. Agriculture has always been the corn to Nova Scotia, and with wine now it’s a new type of agriculture that’s adding an extra value to our land, which is really exciting to see rural Nova Scotia prosper to the wine industry. That’s an amazing number in stats in terms of how it contributes and it’s that way, Amy across the board for all Canadian wines, and I’m sure any local region, the contribution to the local economies is very important. I mean, wine is the most value added agricultural product we produce. It’s the only one When we put on the dinner table in its original packaging, we don’t tag the beef. We don’t put a little sticker on the strawberries, but we have wine on the dinner table and the spin off from tourism to restaurants to the whole supply chain is pretty profound. Alright, so Amy, tell us a little bit about Lackey. The blinds are kind of special grape for Nova Scotia and for you personally, what is it about lack of the blonde it’s a bit of a signature for Nova Scotia.
Amy Savoury 9:26
I have a huge place in my heart for lack of a blah. It was actually an orphan from Ontario from buying land that came here in the late 70s, early 80s. And the original pioneer, I say of Nova Scotia wine industry, Roger dial was then operating the Grand Prairie winery and got his hands on it and realise its potential of surviving our winters and producing an amazing diversity of wine. And it’s him that we owe the name blackity blonde paying homage to the Acadian culture was deported right from below the vineyards of Grand Prairie There’s not many places in the world that can say that they have a great that’s completely kind of a signature of themselves. And it’s true for lack of the ball what it does here, no social and I often call it the workhorse of our grades where it’s used to make a single Briar Tollway. It’s used to make an unbelievable sparkling traditional method. It takes oak ageing, really, really lovely. And then we can also make it into other sounds of wine. So it really is a primary Blender of the title Bay. And it really is a great that we can truly say is Nova scotian. When you travel anywhere in the world, you want to connect with those grapes that are unique to that region. And I’m really proud to say that here in Nova Scotia, we have that great.
Natalie MacLean 10:42
I haven’t heard it being grown anywhere else and yet I’ve tasted it in Nova Scotia and here at home in Ottawa, and it’s unlike anything else. It’s beautiful, it’s fresh, it’s crisp, it’s not Riesling, it’s not diverse Demeter. It’s its own creature and you really have to try it to really know what it is absolutely. So good segue there. Amy, can you elaborate on the title Bay appellation? We’ve got a lot of different wineries in Nova Scotia producing a title Bay. Here’s grandpre that was Lightfoot that I just had up there. And I’ve got planters rich here. I’ve got a number of them here, but maybe you could tell us about tidal Bay and what that’s all about.
Amy Savoury 11:21
What a truly remarkable success. It’s been for Nova Scotia in terms of a being a wine that truly captures our climate, in terms of bright and lively and those lovely aromatics that are cool evenings give us within naturally fits within the foods that were already known for. It’s a perfect partner to go with it and I love the new branding of the winery Association. They just brand a title Bay as one story, many authors and so there is very strict kind of standards and regulations. That
Natalie MacLean 11:57
is not awesome. I love that as a writer. I love that one. Story many authors, that’s poetic.
Amy Savoury 12:02
Yeah, it really is. It gives you that sense that the winemaker has really stringent standards of which they have to make the wine and what grapes they can use to make the wine. But it never inhibits their creative spirit so they can interpret that story and develop the character of the wine as they see fit. And so this year’s vintage 2017 we have 11 different title Bay’s from 11 different producers and wineries. And although they all fit in terms of that spectrum of light and bright and crisp and slightly romantic, they all have their own unique personality, which is, I think, really special about the programme. It’s so stylistically fit, that there’s an expression of each individual winery and their little place in Nova Scotia that they can express through the wine. Now with title Bay,
Natalie MacLean 12:52
are there specific grapes that can be blended? Is it a choice? How does it work?
Amy Savoury 12:58
It’s a three tier system. So there is the four primary grades that kind of make up the majority of the blends so 51% of the wind needs to be made from either lack any Blom save all blah, feet of law, or guys in high three.
Natalie MacLean 13:15
They’re all very aromatic white grapes.
Amy Savoury 13:18
Yes, absolutely and then have a structure of their own. So 51% of the blend needs to make from those four base and then there’s a secondary chair where the majority of the great star so you’ll see the difference there anything from Chardonnay and Riesling, you’ll see other French American hybrids, and no more than 49% of the blank can be made from that position of the centre of varieties. And then the tertiary varieties are those really aromatic grapes. So we’re talking like Muscat now or near Muscat, Pearl, the southpaw. And so those grapes can’t be made up of any more than 15% of the blend to ensure that it’s not overly aromatic that it still expresses itself. of the place. And so the winemaker really has this really creative freedom to kind of play with those grape varieties. Now some winemakers will choose to use the same grace every year. So they have their signature kind of blends. And they use those grapes every year, or other winemakers will kind of play depending on what the vintage kind of fade in. And then we’ll stylistic the wine depending on that. It’s really neat to kind of look through the blend of the different wineries to see how varied they are, but how they still nail that stylistic component of light, bright, crisp and aromatic.
Natalie MacLean 14:33
That signature that one story many authors. Exactly, yeah, it reminds me a little bit of Schaden of depop where you can have up to 13 grapes and the blend, of course completely different. That’s over in the Rhone Valley, France. But that idea that you can have this whole palette of many grapes to create that consistent sort of signature that you want for tidal Bay. Is there a limit of alcohol level that can be in these wines?
Amy Savoury 14:59
All the time. Standards limit the maximum alcohol level. So we want to keep it light. And so title that you can’t have any more than 11% alcohol. They stay light and vibrant. And then there’s also parameters around the minimum amount of total acidity that the wine needs to have, as well as the maximum amount of residual sugar. So they’re ensuring that balance of brightness in the wine. Hmm, wow, that’s interesting.
Natalie MacLean 15:25
And it was Peter gamble, who created this Peter gamble just for a bit of background if anybody’s not in the wine industry, which I’m sure the majority have not but he’s married to an Sperling famous winemaker here in Ontario, but she has her own vineyards as well in BC spurling vineyard South Brooklyn, Ontario, I know she’s consulted to Benjamin bridge, and I think Blanca didn’t and they have an Argentina vineyard. So anyway, Peter gamble was he the one who came up with the
Amy Savoury 15:52
idea? Back in the Ratatouille thousand and nine Benjamin bridge was creating a white blank called vero and Peter was consulting for Benjamin Rush at the time. And he said, this is the style of wine your region needs to concentrate on. It was just everything that tidal Bay was and he kind of brought the idea and pitched it to the winery association which we benefit here in Nova Scotia that were small and fairly collaborative. So being small, we’re a little bit more nimble that the winery Association absolutely grabbed hold of the idea and said we can totally work with us. We can build standards, we can make something that’s truly Nova Scotia glass.
Natalie MacLean 16:29
Oh, that’s fantastic. I love that Nova Scotia glass. Are there any organic wines in Nova Scotia, Amy,
Amy Savoury 16:35
so lack of the failure with our first certified organic winery in Nova Scotia, an exceptional little place who really specialises in traditional methods, sparkling wines, and he produced the first traditional methods sparkling wine for Nova Scotia in the 2006 vintage of the lack of the fruit, just an exceptional spot who really connected with his land and his soil, anything the wisest person ever said to me was, I asked him, Well, why did you work in it? He said, Well, I’m raising my children on this farm. I want to make sure that Yeah, and it really kind of connects you back to the land. We also have Lightfoot and Wilco who is, yeah, organic, some of their wine and also practising biodynamic farming practices.
Natalie MacLean 17:21
Oh, I know. And you know, some of their labels, they’re beautiful, but they symbolise the biodynamic farming and viticulture in the label. I believe you would know more about this than I do. But yes, absolutely. Every symbol in there signify something about their particular vineyard and that particular variety. I think many of us would find it hard to believe that you can do organic and biodynamic in Nova Scotia where the conditions are more challenging. It is Canada’s coolest region by a degree or something like that versus Ontario and BC. So how are these folks doing this? You know what
Amy Savoury 17:55
I think that’s what I love about our industry, but I often say we’re small Right at 22 wineries, we’re really small on a Canadian scale. But it’s the risk taking. And it’s the excitement and the passion and the innovation, for connecting with a place to produce wines that are distinctive of who we are. And I often find that what really makes us unique that being young, we really don’t have a lot of rules and a lot of boundaries. And so folks are just kind of playing with it and seeing how it works out and so far, I would say it’s been working out pretty great.
Natalie MacLean 18:27
Yeah, it’s going well, so far. So far, so good. We’re in Toronto. Can we find Nova Scotia whines
Amy Savoury 18:33
thieve small. We don’t ask for a lot right now. Should I know that at the lcbo you can certainly find some of the Benjamin bridge products. So yeah, over
Natalie MacLean 18:44
seven. There we go. I know that just came out in vintages. lcbo. Yeah. And that’s got national distribution, I believe one of the wines that does have national distribution. So
Amy Savoury 18:56
yeah, so you can find a few of those products.
Natalie MacLean 18:58
So Chris, I think that we would love To bring more than a market for sure. And that goes into the whole free my grapes movement that the Canadian vintners Association CBA is promoting right now. So they’ve reached out to writers like me to help promote this. And I am such an advocate because I would love to order more Nova Scotia wines where I grew up to my doorstep here in Ontario. But of course we can’t the federal government has legalised it, not the provincial governments. So if you go to free my grapes.ca, add your voice, it’s a quick little thing that will go off to your local elected representative to tell him or her that it’s important and I think, especially to small wineries, like those in Nova Scotia, but there’s all kinds of across the country in Ontario everywhere, that they don’t have the volume to get into the big liquor stores. And so this direct to consumer channel is really vital for their growth and their sustainability. So anyway, another little soapbox moment, I think it’s really important Julie asks Amy, where are the 90 growers located in Nova Scotia? So we have 22 wineries, 90 growers, grape growers providing grapes to those wineries. Are they dispersed or are they mainly concentrated in the say the Annapolis Valley area?
Amy Savoury 20:16
They’re actually dispersed throughout rural Nova Scotia. And so we have about seven identifiable grape growing regions in Nova Scotia. Of course the concentration are certainly healthier and Annapolis Valley kind of being the heart of the industry. But we have about right now, it’s not going to seem a lot to Ontario, BC standards, but we have 1000 acres of land under bond, still fairly small. And a lot of those grape growers are located yes here in the Napa Valley. But the Napa Valley can be quite large by parameters from like Windsor, down to Digby, there’s a great concentration. And then we have great growers in Annapolis, antigonish County and great growers in the tattoo makers, the mouthwash Peninsula, so they are quite scattered and I think it’s part of air culture reasons recently published a stat that says for every acre of grapes that can get planted in Nova Scotia, it creates the equivalent of one full time job. Wow. And for me being a rural Nova scotian girl, that makes me really proud because I know that those are close to 1000 jobs that 20 years ago didn’t exist. And most of those are in rural places
Natalie MacLean 21:21
where it’s tougher to find jobs as opposed to having to move to the city where the cost of living is higher. So that’s really important. Yeah, it’s really great. Now I heard somewhere recently and you don’t have to confirm this Amy, but I was listening to a podcast or reading something. And the person was saying that there is more potential land that can be planted for buying grapes or wine grapes in Nova Scotia than any other province in Canada. The potential for this province is huge in terms of untapped plantings that could still be done in the province. So that’s pretty exciting in terms of the trajectory that Nova Scotia Winds are on and where it’s all going.
Amy Savoury 22:02
2017 was our largest planting yet, through the Department of Agriculture, they put a vineyard expansion programme in place, and we thought 260 acres a planted just last year alone. 2017 that is plastic.
Natalie MacLean 22:18
So let me just say as someone who doesn’t own a winery, I know people do order and order directly from wineries. It’s just not legal at a provincial level and which is just silly. So contact the wineries and make an arrangement to ship those glass fragile boxes. That’s all I can say. Okay, take a hint. But still people do do that. They regularly do that and many wineries make a point of making it public too. So I totally support that. So talk to us about red wines. I should say one of the stats you sent me Amy is that 60% of wines produced in Nova Scotia are white or sparkling presumably because of the cool climate but how How does Nova Scotia handle reds and which reds?
Amy Savoury 23:03
We can’t forget that the majority of the line that reproduces white and sparkling, we still make exceptional reds. So right now the pinata wires that are being released are really beautiful. We only have a handful of the producers producing Pino. But they’re gorgeous in a red table style, the light for them will fill fcn as an example is pretty stellar. But I think where we really shine is certainly with our blended reds. And the winemakers once again are coming in and playing a really important role in terms of really creative winemaking styles. So a lot are playing with the passive style reds. So drying the grades to concentrate those shares to them a little bit more body. We even have one producer left at vineyards here in the valley that is actually burying the blended red in the ground in feral eight feet under to get this exceptional kind of complexity. That kind of is wonderful. And so a lot of
Natalie MacLean 23:57
story I think just burying it in the ground or as a seller down that low.
Amy Savoury 24:01
They’re actually burying the barrels in the ground through and Yep, putting the wind in the barrel and it stays about 24 months underground and then they syphon it off. It’s exceptional they do a buried white that is 100% laxity it’s unbelievable how it changes like it is a journey
Natalie MacLean 24:25
okay just curious you know luck It is a great winery to visit all of them are but look at course that’s Pete’s for teak in Halifax there are seasonal grocery store but if you go in the middle of their vineyards they’ve got this British phone box and I think you still can make a phone call anywhere in the world at no charge but it’s this red British phone box in the middle of vineyards. It’s so iconic. It’s Instagram worthy for sure.
Amy Savoury 24:49
Yeah, definitely. I mean within the setting view of the an offending emblem it in and it’s funny when you go there they can’t throw grass in front of the phone booth cuz so many people thought to get their picture. They just can’t
Natalie MacLean 25:02
exaggerate. It is so much fun. So they vary their wines, okay, and so they make a lot of robust reds. What other kinds of reds are being made? You mentioned Pino Noir, which is on the lighter style. But what other reds are popular being planted right now in Nova Scotia.
Amy Savoury 25:18
So we see a lot of those kind of North American hybrids taking the front row here so we only low and Marshall foes, often the wire is a beautiful read producer for us. And we’ve even had some issues with that fingered expansion. Some of the wires are now looping jam man, which I’m super excited about getting covered Cabernet Franc as well. So we’re kind of pushing boundaries and pushing the limits which I think you need to do as a wine region. All great wines come from the edge of possibility. And we’re really trying to learn that here as with new red grape varieties.
Natalie MacLean 25:51
And of course you said hybrids and for people who aren’t familiar with what that means. It’s a cross between two grapes. Often that produces a Winter Hardy, cool climate vine that can survive the temperature dips that happen in regions like Nova Scotia but across Canada as well. Banco noir is also very popular in Ontario. It’s a beautiful, full bodied red wine. Talk to us a little bit, Amy about maybe the biggest misconception that people have about Nova Scotia wines. I know you’ve addressed some of this through our chat so far. But is there something you’d like to address now that is often a mistake when it comes to Nova Scotia wines?
Amy Savoury 26:30
It’s a great question that I think leads right into my comments just previously about the grape varieties. You know, we know that 80% of the world’s wines are made from about 20 different grape varieties and those are really great that we can get comfortable with and we can really understand them to really get to know that I would say that we need to also understand other great Freddie’s like lack of the bar or allow me low or she wrote eBay, right like there’s so many other fake Fridays to try and I think That, although we’re now growing Chardonnay and Riesling and piano wire, we’ve got so many wonderful varieties like this beautiful tie. You go from Cape Breton. Oh, yes.
Natalie MacLean 27:10
Okay rotten. That’s awesome. Yeah, you get the grape, right.
Amy Savoury 27:14
Yes. It’s great. Yeah. I think it’s to be comfortable trying a great Friday that you don’t know because you never know what kind of new flavours and what new experiences they bring. And so I think that here in Nova Scotia, we have about 70, different great Fridays planted and we still kind of understand who we are that there’s so many wonderful new great Fridays to understand and get connected with.
Natalie MacLean 27:39
Wow, lots of experimentation, all that going on.
Natalie MacLean 27:42
Yeah. Now let me not run out of time here. Can’t believe Wow. But Amy, you and I have the same wines in front of us. So let’s taste before Okay, I know the time. I’ve got the Lightfoot, NC on ancient Chardonnay with the wild ferment. Yeah, I think you do too. I do beautiful shark day. I was there a couple weeks ago at this winery had a great tasting with Emily in the tasting room. Oh lovely. Yeah, she’s a star. So let’s give this a taste the wines at Lightfoot and fulfil blew me away. I mean, the winery is only nine months old, but I know they have to be using grapes that are more mature, like vines are more mature right out of the gate. They want a lot of the awards at the Atlantic Canada wine awards. And they are, as you said earlier, the first biodynamic winery in the province. Amazing wines. So tell us about this shard? Like what are your impressions and anything you know about it? Huh?
Amy Savoury 28:42
Yeah, simply stunning wine. And so just that beautiful kind of kiss of oak that’s beautifully integrated with that cool climate Chardonnay expression. It certainly has lots of complexity and layers and elegance with that. That’s brilliant Nova scotian acidity.
Natalie MacLean 28:58
Yeah, sizzles. Yeah. Beautiful, so it’s buttery and rich but not heavy. My mind keeps going the lobster steamed lobster melting butter. Yeah, beach. We’re done.
Amy Savoury 29:11
Right there. We’re just wine.
Natalie MacLean 29:13
I could go on and on. But I just it’s a beautiful wine.
Amy Savoury 29:16
And I think it has potential. I’ve had a number of bottles down on my cellar. Really good to see how it kind of progresses and ages.
Natalie MacLean 29:24
And I don’t have this one chilled down. So I’m not going to open it because that would be explosive. But I also love their bubbly, tasting that in the tasting room to just it’s the traditional method that they use in champagne. And it is so gorgeous.
Amy Savoury 29:38
So beautiful. And that particular wine just one wine of the year at the Atlantic wine channel. Well,
Natalie MacLean 29:44
yeah, put that in the fridge tonight then. Okay, so let’s make sure we cover some of these others that we have here. How about the Riesling from grandpre? They just come out with a new label here nice and clean, crisp like the wine.
Amy Savoury 29:57
Exactly. Now I have the older vintage With me recently and it’s fairly new for us here in Nova Scotia, and you’re just the winemaker at Crown Fay. I like to call him the king every plane here in the valley. Excellent. Yeah, he has a precision with this great that the wife always delivers in intensity and that’s brilliant, the racy kind of Nova Scotia and he is so good. Yeah lush fruit and such an exceptional versatile wine. This is one that kind of I think is a go to on any table and stand up so many dishes and just totally different taste preferences and profile like
Natalie MacLean 30:35
seafood to veal to poultry to just about everything. I met my aunt Halina for lunch at Domaine to grandpre their Kava Kava restaurant, which is outstanding, the chef they’re amazing and like I asked a few wineries even Where should I go for dinner lunch, and they recommend this very collegial and the restaurant is lovely.
Amy Savoury 30:56
Yeah, a beautiful setting on the pergola on a summer’s day. Yeah, one thing that’s special I think a better Nova Scotia wineries is the visitor experience no matter which one area you go to, you’re going to be welcomed with that to genuine Nova Scotia hospitality. absolutely thrilled to have you there to share with
Natalie MacLean 31:14
Yeah, yeah, it’s beautiful region like with the restaurants, everything like the gorgeous landscapes. The Bay of Fundy, which is the highest tides in the world. Pretty neat. Louise Boudreau is asking if there’s any ice wine in Nova Scotia.
Amy Savoury 31:29
Oh, absolutely. Okay, good. Yeah, yeah, expect. So, number of producers produce beautiful, I find that traditionally the videl great kind of shines in that category for us as it doesn’t Ontario as well. But really, there’s a scene Iceland’s made from your ticket grade, as well as the New York Muscat crane makes intriguing nice lines here. I went had probably the most brilliant advice ever from a gentleman when I was working at Lyft Cabo the restaurant grandpre offered him dessert and he said to me, my dear if God intended us to eat dessert he wouldn’t have invented fermentation glass of iced wine and I think some brilliant advice that our iPhones are wonderful and that we need to pop the cork more often at the end of the meal.
Natalie MacLean 32:16
We forget or we get too full or whatever and that’s the one from Lightfoot but that’s made from V del beautiful well, and the Ortega grape from domain to Grand pay is a lovely dry table mine. Alright, so what else have we got here? Avondale sky, which is lady slipper which is a lovely flower in Nova Scotia. This is a Rosie made from Do you know the grape here?
Amy Savoury 32:40
Yes, so it is Leon below and Mark had to read grade it which gives it that beautiful like Ruby flipper colour it’s just gorgeous, isn’t it? Avondale guide being just an exceptional winery to visit speaking of agriculture, these past the pastoral hills and they kind of made headlines when they built their winery by instead of building a new building bought a church at a neighbouring community for $1. And then that all the money floating it down the Avalon river because it was too wide to go on the roads. So they get apart and they floated the church from Washington to there and so just stunning to see the video of this church coming down the water to find me later rest at the winery.
Natalie MacLean 33:28
I had no idea I visited there about two weeks ago. Lovely in the stained glass and everything else. It’s a gorgeous little winery. And I had no idea so I’ll look for that video.
Amy Savoury 33:38
Yeah, I think it’s probably the only tasting room that has the puppet is the tasting
Natalie MacLean 33:45
Amen. Oh, that’s pretty nice and light. Cherry Berry. Yeah, acidity again, and acidity is our friend when it comes to wine. It’s like salt. The food brings forward flavour. Yes, making my mouth water. So much.
Natalie MacLean 34:01
Seriously grievable seriously drinkable so good. I think we have one more that we wanted to taste together I believe or have no
Natalie MacLean 34:09
we’ve got to. I skipped over sorry Rosie but that’s okay. They’re all nice and light whites. The planters Ridge which is a title day right there and planters Ridge new to me I mean in my on my radar won a lot of awards at the Atlantic Canada wine awards as well. Beautiful expression at the title Bay, not cloying, not sweet. floral, but not over the top. What else can you take out this one? Yeah,
Amy Savoury 34:36
just beautifully balanced. And so an exceptional little vineyard very small. And they’ve taken the old heritage of the farming and renovated 150 year old barn, which was farmed for eight generations, I think seven or eight generations important Williams rate along the Wellington diet and interesting binary kind of try No different great Friday. So in this blend of huddle bags, face some of the Minnesota grape varieties taking a roll here with fun neck law and button agree and it really gives you those beautiful aromatics that you were
Natalie MacLean 35:09
talking about. So from the state of Minnesota where they were originally planted or grafted or
Amy Savoury 35:15
made it Yeah right. That’s right beautiful.
Natalie MacLean 35:18
It is beautiful if you like the Kanye of diverts to me or anything like that. This is lovely, floral, but again, not too over the top, just nice. I mean, I could imagine mild to medium curries and spices but also just fresh seafood. All kinds of great clothes made really
Amy Savoury 35:36
very flexible way. Definitely Yeah.
Natalie MacLean 35:39
Louise is asking is the industry organised for winery tours and accommodations? I was there two weeks ago we use I mean, there’s just all kinds of things you can do and tours. Is there anything else you want to add? Amy I mean, you’re built for tourism in the Annapolis Valley.
Amy Savoury 35:53
There why especially here in Annapolis Valley being so concentrated all kind of within five kilometres. We have this one It’s called the magic winery best. It’s actually just launched in Ontario at 20. bench. It just launched last weekend in one particular wine region were megalomaniac.
Natalie MacLean 36:11
Yes, yes. Okay. I know that one. Yeah, that one, right. Yeah.
Amy Savoury 36:14
Or 27. Maybe? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And it’s a wonderful, it’s a hop on hop off a double decker bus. And it picks you up in Wolfeboro, which is the main town here in the valley. And it drives you to the wineries and you can spend as much time as you like, and then hop off. It’s a really great tourism experience that really gives people that availability to see many wineries without having to drive lots of accommodations. And that’s the thing about our province. We’re fairly small. And so the winery Association states that no matter what vineyard you’re in, in Nova Scotia, you’re never more than 20 kilometres from the ocean. I love that.
Natalie MacLean 36:49
Yeah. Beautiful with all the beach walking and everything else. All right, so we’re going to Benjamin bridge before we run out of time, the no seven which is the one we can find mostly This winery got listed in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in London, England, which is like three star Michelin and he’s the one of course on the Food Network. Kind of a picky guy when it comes to food and wine. And yet Benjamin bridge got on the restaurant list over there in London UK. Pretty amazing.
Amy Savoury 37:18
Pretty exciting now often has said that Well, no, we’ve arrived on the wine scene here in Nova Scotia. When our wines are put on the list of where seafoods already exported to. I like that. Yeah, yeah, it’s a natural kind of like what grows together goes together and we know we expert so much seafood, which was thrilling to see I know especial wine among some of the finest champagnes in the world. on its face, our mission and then the producers being so Nova scotian really crediting not themselves but the climate and the Bay of Fundy for the success which is really kind of I think, explains who we are here in Nova Scotia for sure.
Natalie MacLean 37:56
That’s a great summary. What’s the best website for people to find out more about Nova Scotia wines,
Amy Savoury 38:03
well, the winery Association on Nova Scotia, it’s a membership based Association. So it has a number of the wineries located on it. Yeah. As well as you could check out taste of Nova scotia.com. And its membership based organisation as well, that is all food related and producers and producers, so you can find more information from wineries there as well.
Natalie MacLean 38:27
And those links on the blog posts that we created for this chat, so make sure that people can connect and find out more about Nova Scotia wineries. You are an excellent ambassador of Nova Scotia wines, Amy. Well, we really appreciate your time. great overview. I didn’t get to have my questions, which is a tribute to you. So thank you so very much for spending time with us. So goodbye, Amy and good luck and we’ll talk again soon. Okay.
Amy Savoury 38:53
Take care. Bye bye.
Natalie MacLean 39:01
Well there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this chat with Amy savoury. Here are my takeaways. Number one, several things surprise me about the Nova Scotia wine industry, even though that’s where I grew up, like how fast it’s growing at 133% the number of wineries which is now actually at 25. And the diversity of styles produced there, to me gives us a great overview of the provinces signature white wine grape lack of the blonde, which can be made on its own or in a blend as a still wine or a sparkler. It’s definitely my go to with Nova Scotia lobster. Three tidal Bay is Canada’s first appellation based on the style of wine. And it’s another signature of Nova Scotia as a blend of several aromatic grapes. I love the way they captured the essence of this wine. One story many authors and for We touched on the economic importance of why making to the province just one acre of vines planted creates a full time job. That’s good news, given the region has the greatest untapped potential in Canada for land that can be planted with vines to make wine. If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it. Especially one who’s interested in the fascinating wine tips that Amy shared about Nova Scotia wines. You’ll find links to the wines we tasted a full transcript of our conversation, the video version of this chat, and where you can find us on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm at Natalie McClain comm, forward slash 78 Finally, if you want to connect with me personally, join me in a free online video wine class at Natalie McClain comm forward slash class. You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Heidi Marie Fisher Falco, who along with her brother runs her family’s winery. venga baffle, one of Australia’s leading wine producers. We talked about why the zesty spring perfect wine. gruner Veltliner is so iconic for the country and so versatile with food. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps zesty Nova Scotia wine.
Natalie MacLean 41:28
You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie McLean comm forward slash subscribe, maybe here next week. Cheers