DRINK THIS: Blomidon Estate Winery’s 2014 Blanc de Noirs

Loved by critics for its toasty notes, full body and delicate bubbles.

A Nova Scotian bubbly goes great with food. No surprise, then, that contestant chefs at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Halifax—the rebranded Gold Medal Plates national culinary competition—choose overwhelmingly to pair their competition dishes with local sparkling wine.

This makes for an especially good opportunity to size up some of the top sparkling wines in the region. At this year's Halifax competition, held last month, Blomidon Estate Winery's 2014 Blanc de Noirs came out on top, according to the Kitchen Party's panel of local wine judges (this author included).

As the name indicates, Blomidon's Blanc de Noirs is a white wine pressed from dark grapes—Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, two classic Champagne varieties. At pressing, juice is separated from skin, meaning the pigment found in grape skins has little opportunity to bleed into the juice, leaving only the faintest remnant of colour—a pleasing barely-even-salmon tinge of orange-pink that is nearly imperceptible once it's poured into a glass.

The wine is wonderfully lively and balanced, with "pronounced toasty notes on the nose, freshly baked bread, red apple, spice and underlying aroma of mature cheese," according to Alanna MacIntyre of Bishop's Cellar, one of the competition's judges. "Full bodied, with a pleasant, creamy texture, fine mousse and a dryish finish," adds Craig Pinhey, New Brunswick wine, beer and spirits writer, also a Kitchen Party wine judge. "A total delight," sums up Heather Rankin of Obladee, A Wine Bar, another panel judge. "Floral, woodsy, wild cherry note and a soft delicate bubble."

Blomidon Estate Winery's Blanc de Noirs is available for $45 at the winery, through its online store and at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market (1209 Marginal Road) on Saturdays. Well worth having on hand for the holiday season.

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