The many styles and shades of Nova Scotia Rosé

Remember your first experience with pink- wine? Whether a jug of Carlo Rossi blush or a bottle of fruit laced Boones, the sensory experience was the same – painstakingly sweet. But the good news is things have changed, and it’s time to rethink pink. Nova Scotia rosés are more than the sweet, fuchsia wines of the past. Today’s roses come in a variety of hues made for various tastes – raw and natural, traditional method sparkling, elegant and complex. And, yes, even juicy and fruity. With the range of shades and styles, there’s no better time to challenge your expectations.

To think beyond pink and recognize the nuances of rosé we need to understand how it’s made. Each rosé gets its character and colour from the grapes used, and the method by which it’s made –  whether the maceration method, saignée method, or blending. With both the maceration and saignée methods the key is skin contact with the grapes. The most traditional and widely used approach, maceration uses red wine grapes intended to become rosé. The grapes are crushed, and the juice is left in contact with the skins – extracting their telltale pink hues. Colour variations stem from grape variety and length of maceration.

In contrast, the saignée method uses red wine grapes destined to become red wine. After some contact with the skins, the winemaker will bleed some of the juice into a separate vessel where it will be fermented into rosé. A rarer method, the resulting wine is concentrated in colour and flavour. Some argue this style is more a by-product of red wine production, but I digress. The final method blends white wines with red and is a popular choice for Nova Scotia rosés. Blending allows the winemaker to craft wines exhibiting different hues, a range of styles, and a lot of depth.

Production methods aside, Nova Scotia winemakers are bottling up rosés using innovative – and often risky – winemaking practices such as wild fermentation, and experimenting with ancestral sparkling techniques. They’re crafting distinctively Nova Scotian rosé by blending our unique grape varieties and capturing our climate. So I dare you, get the know the many shades and styles of Nova Scotia by making your next summer day a rosé day. Challenge your concept of this style of wine and think beyond pink.

Seven Nova Scotia Rosés you should try!

Avondale Sky 2017 Leon Millot Natural Sparkling

A naturally sparkling example of Leon Millot that delights the senses with this unique (and extremely limited) pétillant naturel rosé. This style, more commonly referred to as Pét-Nat, is bottled just before completing primary fermentation. Capped with a crown cap the fermentation finishes in the bottle. Rich and ruby in colour with ripe raspberry on the nose, this rosé is dry with a lively spritz and rustic Nova Scotian personality.

Planters Ridge 2017 Rosé

All strawberries, from start to finish. This juicy rosé is made from a blend of Baco Noir and Frontenac Blanc grapes. Rich and ruby red in the glass it erupts with ripe strawberry and watermelon nose.  This rosé tastes like a strawberry picked at the height of ripeness. Just the right amount of sweetness makes it a deliciously drinkable rosé for a warm summer day.

L’Acadie Vineyards 2015 Vintage Cuvee Rosé

An absolutely stunning salmon hue that is equally as pretty to look at as it is to sip. Delicate bubbles mesmerize as they dance from the bottom of the glass. A traditional blended method sparkling rosé made from L’Acadie Blanc and Marechal Foch grapes with limited time on the lees. This organic wine presents wonderful on the nose of strawberries, apples and hay. Leading to superb balance and a delightful creamy mousse on the palate.  Easy to drink and easy to see why this wine was a gold medal winner at Canada’s largest and most acclaimed wine competition, the 2017 National WineAlign Awards.

Luckett Vineyards 2017 Rosetta

A fun and fresh example of Nova Scotia rosé made with a blend of Marechal Joffre and L’Acadie Blanc grapes. This approachable rosé has a beautiful salmon hue and an inviting aroma of strawberry rhubarb pie. Nice balance with just the right hint of sweetness equalized by lively acidity and red berry fruit on the finish – an easy sipper for the lazy days of summer.

Gaspereau Vineyards 2016 Lucie K Rosé

All red grapes – Lucie Kuhlmann, Marquette, and Triomphe d’Alsace – pack a berry punch in this rosé. Magenta in colour with a concentrated fruit character of cherry nibs, blackberry and apple crisp. The intensity of its fruit continues on the palate delivering a strawberry freezer jam and tangy cranberry finish. A more concentrated style, it balances sweetness with a kick of Nova Scotia acidity.

Lightfoot & Wolfville 2017 Rosé

Stunning rose gold hue, this is a wine reflective and lively in the glass. Light and bright aromas of mandarin orange, rhubarb and cherry blossoms. Great structure and impeccable balance of field berries and tangy acidity it’s a refreshing rosé that is extremely versatile with the bounty of summertime foods. Recently awarded best rosé at the 2018 Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards, this is just one shining example of why this producer was also named winery of the year at the same competition.

Benjamin Bridge 2017 Cabernet Franc Rosé

Cool climate Cabernet Franc meets wild fermentation in a concrete vessel – no sulphite additions, no fining, and no filtration – this is as raw and natural as wine gets. A classic onion skin hued rosé both feminine and intriguing on the nose. Complex notes of wildflowers, mint and red currant change in complexity with every sniff. Luscious on the palate with dry crispness and a hint of anise spice on the finish. You’ll want to spend an extended period of time with this natural beauty.