Although many people may believe the contrary, I am convinced that wine brings out the best in all of us … if, by best, we mean our true, unadulterated, unedited selves. When Pliny the Elder wrote, “in vino veritas,” (In wine there is truth) followed by “in acqua sanitas” (in water there is health) he was at least half-right. Whenever I hear that expression bandied about, I like to cite the famous Ben Franklin misquote:
“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.”
The reason the above is a misquote is because it was not until Louis Pasteur’s discoveries in the 1870s (a century after Benjamin Franklin) that the term “bacteria” was used in connection with germs and disease. This is another famous apocrypha that sounds so good it simply must be true. Consequently, it sounds better and better after each successive glass of wine. In parallel (and complementary) fashion, it is best enjoyed in the moment … of drinking, of course. This is where we particularly enjoy to wax wise – with the conjuring of a philosophy of enjoying things in the moment, of the famous Horatian axiom, “Carpe diem” (Seize the day).
Spring is an important time in the industry for the release of the new white vintages, and in Nova Scotia, there is the additional anticipation for the release of the New Tidal Bays. This month's TNT, hosted by Blomidon Estate Winery, gave us and our fellow winegrunters the opportunity to meet with the winemakers and to taste all twelve new 2016 Tiday Bay vintages. For those not so fortunate to receive this sneak peek and one-on-one with the winemakers, there still is the possibility to taste all twelve Tidal Bays without having to drive all over the province from one winery to another. Wines of Nova Scotia is hosting the annual 12 Tides event at the Marriott Harbourfront Hotel in Halifax on May 5, 2017. Each winery will be pouring their new Tidal Bay as well as two other new wines.
Since we are still just before “bud break” but just after World Book Day, I thought I’d reflect on these two important moments. Started by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain, in 1923 to celebrate the death of perhaps that country’s greatest writer, Miguel de Cervantes, World Book Day has resonated for almost 100 years. While there are still many bottles of excellent wine now, ready to be consumed, we are still at an early point in the season so, in order to get ready, how about reading a good book or two? This activity is to be accompanied by wine, of course … .
Easter Sunday was spent with a friend whom we had not seen in a long time. Time spent with him is always fun; besides great food and conversation, his home is filled with all sorts of fun toys. Our previous visit had us playing with his theremin; this time around we discovered that he has a pot still. While the still may be legal in Nova Scotia, moonshine is not. Whereas it is easy enough to purchase a still in Nova Scotia, officially, they are sold for the purpose of water purification and essential oil extraction. In the past few years, artisanal distilling has begun to flourish in the province, with small private distillers opening in Lunenburg, Antigonish and Guysborough counties. However, the Alcohol and Gaming Division of Service Nova Scotia that oversees the Liquor Control Act does not allow distilling in the home. Needless to say, we were more than a little curious about the still since, until very recently, no-one was (officially) making grappa in Nova Scotia. As the Nova Scotia wine industry has been flourishing over the past few years, we had already been fantasizing about the possibility of making Grappa in Nova Scotia.