L’Acadie Blanc is a Canadian white grape variety, which takes its name from Acadians who originally settled in Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia in the 17th century.
A “hybrid variety” as we say, meaning there are more than one species in its crossing. In the case of L’Acadie Blanc it’s a long list: It’s crossing between Vitis riparia, Vitis labrusca, Vitis vinifera, Vitis aestivalis, Vitis lincecumii, Vitis rupestris, Vitis cinerea and Vitis berlandieri. With all these Vitis we can say L’Acadie Blanc has a very rich crossing. It was made in Vineland Research and Development Center in Ontario in 1953. Soon after it was sent to Kentville Research Station in Nova Scotia for testing. This journey finished with a good ending, as L’Acadie Blanc proved to adapt the terroir of Nova Scotia. Today it’s mostly grown in Nova Scotia, however you can find it in the other wine-growing regions of Canada, Quebec, Ontario and BC.
What’s the characteristics that makes L’Acadie Blanc adapt to Nova Scotia? First of all, it’s cold hardiness that in winter it can survive to even – 25 oC. Following, it’s vigorous and productive, and more importantly it ripens early. This means in a place like Nova Scotia where the ripening period is short, L’Acadie blanc can be harvested at maturity even if the season doesn’t extend long way into fall.
If you go to a vineyard of L’Acadie blanc, you can distinguish it with its red shoots. Although it’s a white grape variety, the young leaves, shoots, and stems are genetically red. This creates a beautiful view in the vineyard. Not only is it pretty, it also gives healthy and quality grapes that make both growers and winemakers happy.
Nova Scotia’s Chardonnay? Yes, don’t be surprised if you read the local resources about L’Acadie blanc’s mentioning its resemblance to Chardonnay. Its full body and honey and floral aromas of L’Acadie Blanc is the reason for this comparison. Another resemblance with Chardonnay would be the wine styles that you can produce from this grape. Young and unoaked white wines, aged and oaked white wines, and traditional method sparkling wines can be produced with L’Acadie blanc.
Now, you might have heard before that hybrids don’t give good wine. When you taste L’Acadie Blanc you’ll understand that you shouldn’t believe in generalizations.
It also showed me how enjoyable it is to pair local food with local wine, but it’s also worth taking risks to match with different cuisines. I have some suggestions for you, all from my previous pairings: For the local pairing, try the traditional method L’Acadie blanc with fresh oysters. If you want to pair with a different cuisine, choose a dry young still L’Acadie blanc and try it with avocado maki. For the oaked L’Acadie blanc, creamy shrimp pasta is a good accompaniment.
Make sure to spare a place on your glass for L’Acadie blanc, and for other hybrid wines. They’ll give you pleasure but also show you a different perspective of wine.
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