I pen this week’s column while lounging in the sitting room of a remote auberge in the tiny village of Fel, as I sip a remarkably clean, lightly fragrant white wine from the little known Vins de L’Entraygues AOP. Fel is located high above the Lot River Valley in a remote corner of southwestern France. The wines of the Lot are much less well known comnpared to the famous wines of the nearby Dourodgne River Valley which is home to the great wines of St. Emilion, Pomerol and others. In this trip I’ve come to find a number of unsung jewels of French viticulture ranging from sparkling Gaillac, mineral-laden Corbieres Blanc, white wines from the Jurancon and many more. Going off the beaten path doesn’t necessarily require a passport. Nova Scotia has its own wines found on roads less taken that are worth exploring which includes locally produced wines and wines from small appellations deserving our recognition now available at local wine stores.
Everyday: Petite Riviere Tidal Bay (Select NSLC stores, $21.99)
While the Nova Scotia wine industry has found a home in near Wolfville, Petite Riviere stands alone in the LaHavre River Valley. Here this tiny boutique winery, which is led by the capable winemaking skills of Barbara Thomson, sits atop a stunningly rocky terroir. I’ve always found the wines of Petite Riviere to have a distinctiveness of place and this wine is no different. Like other Tidal Bay wines it boasts clean citrus edged flavours but there is a minerality, almost saltiness to the wine that tells of its rocky soils and proximity to the Atlantic ocean. To borrow a term made famous by American wine writer Matt Kramer, it has “somewhereness”.
Serving Suggestion: Enjoy with a plate of local oysters.
Gourmet: Chateau Famaey Cuvee X (Select NSLC Stores, $37.79)
This is a wonderful example of Cahors - a wine region known for its ‘black’, inky and historically fiercely tannic red wines. In the past the wines of Cahors have lacked some fruit expression (for my taste) but this version, made from low-yielding vines is more modern in approach. It is rich in sweet fruit flavours and enhanced with well-seasoned oak. The result is a luscious red wine with the robust fruit character keeping the more aggressive nature of its tannins in check.
Serving Suggestion:Enjoy this substantial red with venison and other game.
Mark DeWolf is the Food & Drinks Editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.