Gaspereau Vineyards: Simple Elegance and Everyday Moments
It’s quiet at Gaspereau Vineyards when I arrive there on a crisp, early spring day. The bare grapevines tap-tap against the wire trellises in the vineyard. Crocuses in mauve and violet have begun to sprout, a sign of new growth and expectations for the season to come.
Gaspereau is preparing to reap the harvest of many newly planted roots as they round into the 2013 growing season. The winery is newly under the ownership of Carl Sparkes, who is spearheading efforts to have Gaspereau’s wines recognized and sold far and wide – not just in Nova Scotia. New vines are being planted, and big plans are afoot.
This season, the winery will be opening up a patio where guests can snack on cheese and charcuterie while enjoying a glass or three of wine. And, to help you decide which of their incredible vintages you feel like drinking, you can head to the complimentary tasting bar first and polish off a few light, crisp sips of white or warming gulps of full-bodied red to narrow down your choices.
A bell jangles as I enter the red building that houses the Vineyards’ tasting bar and wine-making facilities, and I come to realize the energy of spring and new beginnings has been fully embodied by all those who pour their hearts into creating Gaspereau wines.
Katie, the winery manager, positively glows as she welcomes me in for a tasting. She talks about her role at the winery, and how passionate she is about promoting and selling the wines that she loves. She tells us about winemaker Gina Haverstock, who, upon recognizing her incredibly well-developed palate during a summer spent working a wine tasting bar, ditched plans for medical school and applied her chemistry skills in wine-making school instead. Katie raves about how fun and exciting it is to work with so many others who are dedicated to producing incredible wines.
The enthusiasm at Gaspereau Vineyards is obviously infectious: the winery was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Wineries and took home a Gold Medal for their 2009 sparkling Pinot Noir Brut at the 2012 Canadian Wine Awards. Flipping through the two-page wine list while my daughter emptied the contents of my purse next to the tasting bar, I was ready to savour what all the craze was about.
Katie poured us a bit of L’Acadie Blanc here, a sip of Muscat there, a wee gulp of Rosé while I extracted my credit card from my baby’s sticky grasp, and too many more wines to count.
What I found most remarkable about our tasting was not just the superior wines, but that it was just about as laid back and down-to-earth as a wine tasting could possibly be. You know – like if I said “gee, I think I taste undertones of crispy bacon,” I wouldn’t be tsk-tsked and told that what I’m really tasting is a hint of tobacco with an element of tree bark. Instead, the wine is spoken of in a way that is relatable and inviting.
Katie relays creative ways that winemaker Gina uses to describe the wines that delight the food writer in me. For example, she describes the crisp, refreshing L’Acadie Blanc as “the wedge of lemon on your classic Maritime fish and chips dinner,” and the Reserve Port as something that you’d drink around the campfire. The images transported me immediately, and made me think about experiencing and describing wine in a way I’d never thought of before.
I couldn’t wait to experience a few bottles of Gaspereau wine for myself. Upon Katie’s recommendation, I brought home a bottle of as-yet-unreleased 2012 Tidal Bay, a too-outstanding-for-words 2010 Black Dogs Riesling and a bottle of the Vidal Ortega Icewine as a sweet treat.
Though I have to say, I didn’t have a camp fire, and I didn’t even make an overly fancy dinner to honour and accentuate the flavours of the wines. Instead, I put the baby down early, got into my pj’s, and poured a glass for me and my hubby to sip while we caught up on our favourite TV shows. But maybe, despite all the accolades and awards, a Gaspereau Vineyards’ wine is just right for times like these: a way to add a little bit of simple elegance to everyday moments.