The pick: Benjamin Bridge Nova 7, a fresh-tasting sparkling wine from Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley.
You know what wine is welcome at almost any get-together? Fizz. It’s versatile, food-friendly and enjoys enduring popularity, which is why, over the past decade, it’s stopped being a special occasion wine and started becoming an every occasion wine. It helps, of course, that we have a lot more options than just super-expensive French bubbles now and can, instead, look to a range of regions—new world and old—for budget-friendly and delicious sparklers, including this year’s Nova 7.
Backstory: Most people know there’s no shortage of brilliant fizz being produced in several regions of Canada but, when news of this award-winning, highly-acclaimed bubbly from Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge first came out, it was responsible for quite a few puzzled looks. Turns out, though, that the Gaspereau Valley on the Bay of Fundy is an ideal place to grow certain cool climate grapes—Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, for example—because they get such a long “hang time” that allows them to develop more complexity.
Why you’ll like it: This is a fresh-tasting wine with hints of peach, strawberries, citrus and herbs and, overall, a fresh and natural character that walks the line between traditional champagne and a dry fruit cider. Serve directly out of the refrigerator and keep chilled while you enjoy it as a pairing with almost anything—oysters, ribs, chicken or a big plate of salty snacks.
Unlike most Canadian wines, which can be hard to get from one province to the next, 2018 Nova 7 is available in most markets—it’s being released in Ontario, for example, this week ($24.95) and is already on-shelf at the SAQ in Quebec. If you can’t find it, check out some other Canadian cool climate sparkling gems from cool climate regions in British Columbia, Ontario or Quebec.