Our household has suddenly become twice as big in the past week–my parents are visiting us from Alberta until just after Thanksgiving–and as such, we’ve been eating (and drinking!) much more than we normally do as we enjoy each others’ company. Today we decided to take a drive down to Malagash to show them the gorgeous views down on the point, as well as to finally drop by Vista Bella Farm’s roadside stand (they’ve got apples, pears, plums, honey, pumpkins, and squash for sale right now all on the side of the road! Nicole and I were in love.) Anyway, the other in-season food tourism we did today was head to Jost Winery to spend the best afternoon ever in their store and on their front patio. Because I was the Designated Driver, I didn’t sample much more than the maple food platter we ordered, but my dad did! And so, this food review is brought to you today by Brian Nelson:
Our afternoon jaunt to Jost Winery started with a very pleasant drive along the beautiful North Shore Sunset Trail (Highway 6) between Tatamagouche and Wallace. Just follow the signs to arrive at the beautifully landscaped Jost Wineries on the Malagash peninsula. Jost Wineries is one of the oldest operating wineries in Nova Scotia and has a tastefully decorated store, sampling bar and restaurant with a very pleasant patio attached overlooking their vineyards.
I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of wines available for sampling (free of charge). I surprised our server by asking him to recommend wines based on food selections we were planning on serving in the near future, which took him back a bit, but he rose to the challenge.
We were planning on a Scallop and Lobster Alfredo Sauce on Whole Wheat Pasta for supper. He recommended Jost’s Award Winning (2013) Tidal Bay or their L’Acadie Chardonnay(2013). Both would have been excellent choices but the Tidal Bay had a very clean and crisp flavour, slightly dry but yet it left my mouth with a very pleasant light fruity flavour and oddly enough for a dry wine, a juicy feeling, quite unlike many dry white blends that are somewhat astringent. The Chardonnay was not as complex but would be an excellent choice for its price point. I bought bottles of both. That evening we tried the Tidal Bay out with the seafood pasta and it complemented it very well. It brought out the mild taste of both the scallops and the lobster without overwhelming it. It ranks highly with any imported Australian, Hungarian, Chilean or Argentinian white wine that I have tried recently in its price category. I think you could easily pay $5.00 or more a bottle for comparable Okanogan or Ontario based wines. As it is purely Nova Scotian in its origin, I thought it should be highlighted in this review. The Tidal Bay title is a competition amongst Nova Scotian Wineries and each competitor must follow the following criteria to be called Tidal Bay:
Tidal Bay at a Glance
- All grapes used in the making of the wine must be Nova Scotia grown.
- Primary grapes: L’Acadie Blanc, Seyval, Vidal and Geisenheim 318.
- Maximum Yields: An annual, bottled average of 3 tonnes per acre will be the maximum permitted yield.
- Pressing of the grapes may only be done with a bladder or basket press (vertical or horizontal).
- No more than 20% new oak barrels may be used for fermentation or storage.
- Alcohol content: Between 9.5% and 11%.
My next challenge was for a wine to match Roast chicken (locally grown) which we were planning for Thanksgiving. After sampling several wines, I chose an Avondal Riesling Gold for a white wine. It had a pleasant fruity aftertaste, perhaps apples, which I think would go well with a stuffed roasted chicken. As some of our guests prefer red wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon Marechal Foch was my first choice. It was very flavourful, dark and rich, with a bit of smoky aftertaste. Hmm, maybe not the best match, we shall see.
Nova Scotia wineries have struggled to find grape varieties that will flourish in this climate, yet be able to compete with the more established grape growing areas. I think the research and perseverance are paying off. The Marechal Foch variety was one of the earlier successes in Nova Scotia Vineyards. It is pretty strong in flavour, so my guess is Jost Wineries blended it with an imported Cabernet Sauvignon juice to mellow and smooth it out a bit. If you like a bold, robust red either on its own or with a good steak, I think you would like this wine.
While there we selected a Maple Plank appetizer selection. This was a generous selection of local sausage and sliced meat from the Pork Shop in Denmark (all gluten free for those so inclined), local (100 miles maybe) of cheeses, a selection of smoked nuts, crisp bread rounds and a variety of local jams, pickles and some condiments. We went with glasses of the house Red, some of the Riesling and the Tidal bay onto the patio that overlooked the vineyards. It was a wonderful view, and sitting in the late afternoon sun, we had more than enough food for a light lunch for 4 at $25.00. A very pleasant way to spend a warm autumn afternoon.
Finally, I tried their house wines. These are a steal of a deal. The house white is light, fruity and slightly dry. The house red is a pretty robust red, with lots of body, nose and some oak under taste. At $9.99 you will be hard pressed to find a better deal from any of the wine growing regions of Canada, they will beat any of the European wines of a much higher price range. I have no idea if they are made from local grapes but in true Canadian tradition, I snagged a couple of bottles for when the dinner guests are done the expensive brands. I certainly wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve them at that time.