Tuesday, October 26, 2021

2019 Lightfoot & Wolfville Rosé: A Crisp Treat From Nova Scotia

A couple months ago, when I visited Nova Scotia, I bought a case of wine, to explore some of what Nova Scotian and other Canadian wineries are now producing. I knew little about the wines I bought, willing to take a chance and see what I might find. I've enjoyed Nova Scotian wines before, which are extremely difficult to find in Massachusetts. Although the modern wine industry in Nova Scotia is only about 40 years old, its history extends back over 400 years. 

In 1611, Louis Hébert, a French settler and apothecary, brought some vines from France and planted a small vineyard in Bear River, Nova Scotia." A second vineyard would be planted in 1633. Jump forward almost 350 years, to 1980, for the first commercial vintage by Roger Dial of the Grand Pré Winery in the Annapolis Valley.  The second winery, Jost Vineyards, opened in 1985. 

Today, there are about 22 wineries in Nova Scotia, with nearly 1,000 acres of vineyards, about 90 grape growers, and over 70 different grapes (both hybrids and vinifera). The wine region can be divided into four general regions: Annapolis Valley, Gaspereau Valley, South Shore, and the Malagash Peninsula. The total annual production of wine is only about 211,000 cases, which is a relatively small amount. In comparison, there are plenty of California wineries which produce much more than the entirety of Nova Scotia. 

According to the Wines of Nova Scotia website, "Here in Nova Scotia, our vineyards are never more than 20km from the ocean, and the vines grow in the remains of an ancient seabed. Having the World’s highest tides, a mixture of sandstone and slate soil and being surrounded by large bodies of water all contribute to a unique yet ideal viticultural climate." It's also stated that the signature attribute of Nova Scotian wines is their acidity, produced by its unique cool climate. 

From my new case of wine, the first bottle I've sampled was the 2019 Lightfoot & Wolfville Rosé (about $21). Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards is a relatively new winery, founded by Michael & Jocelyn Lightfoot, which began planting vineyards in 2009, and produced their first wines in 2015. The Lightfoot family have been involved in farming for eight generations in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, and their winery is located in Wolfville. The winery has about 40 acres of vines, split into two vineyards, along the shores of the Minas Basin, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy.  

As their website states, "Our commitment to regenerative agriculture practices is driven by a duty to protect and promote the vitality of our soils for future generations, and has led us to successfully pursue organic certification through Ecocert Canada and biodynamic certification by Demeter Canada. Minimal-intervention vinification from healthy, balanced fruit allows us to produce distinct wines that faithfully convey the purest sense of time and spirit of place."

Their website also notes, "The ultimate result is wines that are firmly rooted in a distinct sense of place, characterized by vibrancy, freshness, finesse, and a brilliance and clarity of flavor that can only be achieved in very cool climate regions."

The 2019 Lightfoot & Wolfville Rosé is a blend of Pinot Meunier, L'Acadie Blanc and Frontenac Noir. L'Acadie Blanc is a hybrid grape, developed during the 1950s to be hardy in colder climates, and is mainly planted in Nova Scotia. Frontenac Noir is also a hybrid, created in the 1970s in Minnesota, and is another hybrid developed to do well in colder climates. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and has only an 11% ABV.  

The Rosé had a nice pale pink color with a delightful nose of red fruits and a touch of herbal accents. On the palate, it was crisp, dry and clean, with juicy red fruit flavors of strawberry, watermelon and peach, with subtle touches of herbs. It was refreshing and delicious, with a moderately long finish. It was tasty on its own, but would also pair well with a variety of foods. I enjoyed the wine with some fried trout, and it was a fine pairing. This is definitely a style of Rosé that I greatly enjoy and would be a great choice for your Thanksgiving table. 

I'd love to check out more wines from Lightfoot & Wolfville.

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