Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Luckett Vineyards (Nova Scotia, CA)

Jeff Pinhey is a Nova Scotia wine geek, and a smart one at that. It was he who brought three bottles of Luckett Vineyards wines to the Quebec Taste Camp 2013. He is from Nova Scotia. Jeff is an Associate Member of Canadian Association Professional Sommeliers and has been a Board Member for 8 years.  He is one of the senior BJCP Beer Judges in Canada, and also has significant wine judging experience. An avid traveler, he is adding at least one new wine region every year to his experience. When not tasting beer or wine, Jeff works as a Professional Environmental Engineer. He is on the National Board of Directors of the Stanley Thompson Society and sits on Halifax's Downtown Design Review Committee. 
So, why am I writing about Jeff and about Luckett? ell, I was at the Montreal Taste Camp last year and we had a winemaker's dinner. And as we sat there sampling bottles, left and right, these three babies drew my eye. And so I made sure to taste each one. And they were fantastic! So even though Nova Scotia's not my normal realm, I felt compelled to write about these fantastic wines! I was compelled to research about them online. Apparently, they have a phone booth in their vineyard, which is obviously very distinctive. According to their website, and by other people's agreement, Crisp maritime breezes, legendary ocean tides and brilliant sunshine meet to create an outstanding terroir on a hillside overlooking the magnificent Gaspereau Valley. Luckett Vineyards captures the magic of Nova Scotia’s distinctive character through wines that truly are worth phoning home about.  
Pete Luckett is a name synonymous with fine fare in Nova Scotia.  His culinary explorations began as a stall owner in Nottingham, England, and led him around the world before he chose to settle in the Maritimes. Here he formed one of Atlantic Canada’s best known and loved brands: Pete’s Frootique.  Three award winning stores and countless well-fed customers later, Pete has kept close to his roots as the charming grocer and energetic personality.  Always looking with an entrepreneurial eye towards new adventures, he sees the vineyard as a true calling. A fun fact about Pete? He did a stint as a Queen’s Guard but wasn’t able to keep from chatting up the tourists.  He still has the hat.

Mike Mainguy, Executive Winemaker is indeed the Main Guy for all things wine at the winery.  He brings a well-rounded knowledge obtained from areas with similar growing conditions.  A Nova Scotian at heart, he has extensive winemaking experiences in the Niagara region and right there in their own backyard, spending a year at Gaspereau Winery. 

Marcel Kolb, Vineyard Manager. Don’t let the accent fool you.  Marcel’s background in wine is as French as his prized bottle ofChâteauneuf-du-Pape. Growing up in Switzerland,  he learned growing techniques from the precision masters and has parlayed that knowledge into getting the most out of our unique Nova Scotian terroir.  Just a glance at our meticulous rows of vines is enough to see that Marcel is serious about growing grapes. Marcel is an avid follower of Metallica. Word on the street is that he joined them for a stint as their drummer.


L’Acadie Blanc is Nova Scotia’s most talked about grape. Briefly aged in Hungarian Oak to develop a hint of vanilla, this wine has a complex structure and crisp, refreshing notes. My notes reflect very much the same experience. Nice acidity which gave the fruit its length and a great refreshing quality.
L'Acadie 2011 was reviewed by Natalie McClean, she wrote, "Crisp and clean and refreshing with bright lemon-lime notes." A very elegant, light, bright white with wonderful complexity and a nice lingering flavor. Fabulous!

OK, so I was impressed by the L'Acadie, so now I had to try their Muscat 2012. It pours with a decidedly yellow-ish tint, but very clearly has a hint of pink to it. Big, beautiful nose! Floral with hints of lavender as promised. Citrusy with hints of lychee as well. A hint of the tropical. A gorgeous white wine. A dash of sweetness here, but with enough acidity that is very well-balanced. Very sexy.

OK, so now I had to try the red. I was very curious! Triumphe 2012 was the next big surprise! This medium-bodied, dry red, aged in French oak, had impressive dark red fruit, of a dark berry stewed quality to it, including dark cherry, dark raspberry, and hints of cassis and vanilla...and a hint of mocha.  Triumphe is easy-drinking with a pleasing complexity that never leaves you on hold. A very beautifully balanced red. I was super impressed. These people are far up north, and a red wine with this kind of depth is no small feat! Extremely well done.