Don’t save sparkling wines just for special occasions and swanky soirees. From Prosecco to pale rosé, dry sparkling wines to fizzy fruit wines, a bottle of bubbles makes the everyday a little more extraordinary.
Jenny Gammon is a sommelier and brand, communications, and events manager at Bishop’s Cellar, a private liquor store in Halifax. She says there are many little-known and delicious winemaking operations in Nova Scotia making their mark on the international wine scene.
“If Tidal Bay isn’t on your table or in your glass just yet, now is the time to change that,” Gammon says. Tidal Bay is Nova Scotia’s signature white-wine blend. Wineries throughout the province produce Tidal Bay, but must follow strict rules and regulations when it comes to grape growing, production, and taste.
Gammon says to look for wines from Benjamin Bridge, Lightfoot & Wolfville, and Blomidon Estate Winery. They release a range of sparkling wines, from affordable sparklers to special occasion treats.
“I recommend trying one of the small-lot sparkling wines from Avondale Sky Winery.” She says. “I love their Blanc de Noirs, which they don’t always release regularly, but when they do, it is delicious.”
The sweet combination of light flavours, vibrant acidity, and effervescence make sparkling wine a perfect match with fresh-shucked oysters and deep-fried fish. Pair wines with a high acidity with rich, salty foods. “Two not-so-guilty pleasures taste even better,” she laughs.
Tracey Dobbin, a Newfoundlander based in Bordeaux, France, teaches wine classes in both countries and co-owns French- and Italian-wine importer Les 3 Cavistes in Charlottetown.
When the seasons change, Dobbin switches to lighter, fresher styles of wine. Dry rosé, the pale pink French style from Provence, trends high for summer. “It is the perfect summer patio sipper that also pairs easily with a range of dishes.”
Sparkling wines are a wonderful treat for gatherings. “Prosecco is perfect for those who prefer fruitier wines, while Cava is a great alternative for those seeking drier options,” Dobbin says. “Do as the French do and open a bottle of your favourite fizz at the beginning of casual get-togethers with family and friends.”
Enjoy dry rosés alone or paired with dishes like summer salads and grilled white meats and fish. Drink fruity sparkling wines with fruit-based dishes like peach cobbler.
Linda Schipper is one of P.E.I.’s first certified sommeliers and owner of Wine Not Consulting. She says Italian sparkling Prosecco is her go-to for bubbly wine, but reminds us not to overlook the classic Champagne.
“Always great to toast those memorable events like weddings and graduations, this fine sparkling wine is also great to pair with food. The bubbles add a nice texture, and the acidly makes it a perfect food wine,” Schipper says.
Schipper recommends pairing your favourite bubbly with a local wine or liqueur to create a unique cocktail.
“Rossingnol Winery [Little Sands, P.E.I.] makes a delish crème de cassis. Just add an ounce or so to your favourite sparkling and you will know what I mean,” she says. The cassis gives the sparkling wine a boost of sweetness and a black current flavour. “Island Honey Wine Lavender Mead is another great ingredient to use in sparkling cocktails.”