Podcast 124 – Wine Country Canada

At the Citadel in Halifax, NS.
At the Citadel in Halifax, NS.

Sorry for the delay. We now return you to regularly scheduled wine consumption, already in progress.

It’s been a long fall and again, as I was last year, I’ve been caught off-guard as to how busy I am during the fall. The summer can be a bit of a grind here and it seems like I start the day off in May and then get home again to find out it’s actually September. Such is the pace of the summer season here in wine country.

So after the fall wine festival, when it seems like things are slowing down, they really don’t. It’s like a mind trick that I learned about during motorcycle training in October where pro motorcycle racers are trained to count to 20 before trying to get up after a high-speed crash. After driving around a track at 150mph for an hour, the driver’s brain will be calculating movements to that speed. The rapid decelleration of a crash is faster than the brain can process the change in speeds and so the rider might think that he’s stopped when really he’s still skidding along the sand (hopefully) of the run-out area (hopefully) at 60mph, which is less than half the speed his brain is used to at that moment. I think I’ve experienced something similar when, after decending down the Coquihala into Hope at a good clip (let’s say… ahem), it feels really slow to go 100km/hr. But after sitting in traffic from 264th Ave to the Port Mann, going 70 seems downright speedy. It’s all perspective.

As I was saying, after the fall wine fest things did not slow down and in the middle of it all, my wife and I decided to head to the east coast to visit family. As it happens, we were going to be spending time in each of the 3 other major wine-producing provinces. (Yes, I know PEI has a winery, Rossignol, and they should be proud, but I refuse to count it as a “major” wine producing province.) I knew I had some Ontario wine in my cellar but hadn’t had the opportunity to try wines from Nova Scotia since working in the wine industry. When last I lived in Nova Scotia 13 years ago, I didn’t even know that chardonnay was a white wine.

Our first stop was in Toronto where we stayed with my wife’s aunt and uncle, who are extremely knowledgeable about wine and who had taken me on a day trip tour to Jordan, ON to see some amazing wineries in 2007. On this trip, we were met with these wines from Angel’s Gate:


These photos were both tweeted and ellicited a timely response from Angel’s Gate’s tweeter. I’m always appreciative of social media response times and they did well.

After 2 days we flew to Halifax and more family members who also shared some fabulous wines. We also had a day to roam around on our own and since the weather was incredibly warm for mid-Novemeber, we did the tourist thing and ran around the Citadel for the morning. I’d contacted some wineries in the Annapolis Valley to do a short wine tour there, but because it was off-season few of them had regular wine shop hours. Through Twitter, Bruce at L’Acadie Vineyards suggested I visit Bishop’s Cellars in Halifax, which he said had a fine selection of Nova Scotia wine, including his.

20121211-222121.jpgAwesome choice! It was a blast shopping at Bishop’s Cellars and the staff were extremely knowledgable and helpfull. I wanted to buy 2 bottles and walked out with 6 including the Gaspereau Riesling used in this podcast. They were great using Twitter as well which just goes to show how well social media has been integrated into the wine industry across Canada. I also picked up a bottle of 2011 Crémant Blomidon and L’Acadie’s 2009 Sparkling Rosé, which we thoroughly enjoyed later in the trip when we got to Moncton, NB. Like I said on the podcast, I unfortunately did not get to open the bottle of Blomidon.

From Halifax we drove to New Brunswick where were stayed for two nights before getting on a VIA train to Quebec. At dinner I tried a glass of wine made from the Frontenac grape by a winery in Quebec. It was dark, fruity, and not very tanninc. The new oak wasn’t well integrated but it was pleasant and went well with my food. Unfortunately the menu was taken away too quickly for me to get the name of the producer.

On reaching Quebec, the vino-centric portion of the trip had ended and fatigue had kicked in. I didn’t make any time to visit any wineries in Quebec this time although I have visited some in the past and enjoyed the experiences each time. It was a great experience being a wine tourist again and something that I hope to repeat soon.

Until next time…

Would love to order this wine legally...
Would love to order this wine legally…
Picked this up at a local small town SAQ. This was there only Quebec wine.
Picked this up at a local small town SAQ. This was there only Quebec wine.
Actual photo of Amber's pants. Do not adjust your computer.
Actual photo of Amber’s pants. Do not adjust your computer.