Summer Sparkle: Why Traditional Method Bubbly Shines in the Heat

Summer Sparkle: Why Traditional Method Bubbly Shines in the Heat

Benjamin Bridge Sparklings are the Perfect Companion for Summer Heat Waves & Seasonal Fare

As the summer sun reaches its peak and temperatures soar, we at Benjamin Bridge love to spend this time before harvest refreshing, staying cool, and enjoying the season's bounty. Many of our friends ask us, what do you drink when the heat waves roll in? Enter sparkling wines, the effervescent tonic that not only quenches our thirst but also elevates our rich culinary experiences. At Benjamin Bridge, we believe that sparkling wines are the quintessential companions for summer heat waves and seasonal fare. And we’re here to tell you why:

The Refreshing Effervescence of Sparkling Wine

The defining feature of traditional method sparkling wines is their elegant effervescence—those delicate bubbles that stream like a string of pearls in the glass and tickle your palate with each sip. This effervescence is more than just a fun feature; it provides a refreshing sensation that is particularly welcome during hot weather. The bubbles in sparkling wine stimulate the palate and enhance the perception of freshness, making each sip feel crisp and invigorating. When combined with the bracing, natural acidity that comes from Nova Scotia terroir, traditional method sparkling wines are practically unbeatable as an option in the heat.

Mousse: When the Bubbles are Fine

Did you know that the bubbles in a traditional method sparkling wine are very different from the spritz you will find in our other wines like Nova 7, Piquette, and Pet Nat? Traditional method refers to the making process of these wines, which go through two fermentations. They undergo the first fermentation in a barrel or tank, much like any other wine would, where it will finish at about 6% alcohol by volume. The second fermentation takes place once the wine has been put in bottles, where it is capped and stored on its side in the cellar for ageing.

Here at Benjamin Bridge, our sparkling wines undergo a minimum of 2 years on lees, and in most cases, much longer (3-5 years is typical). This long ageing allows the CO2 produced from fermentation to become integrated into the wine. The longer it ages, the more integrated it becomes, resulting in almost a mousse-like texture instead of a coarse bubble found in younger wines. This mousse is the je ne sais quoi of traditional method sparkling wine that delivers a drink that is equal parts refreshing and rich-feeling.



Nova Scotia as a Powerhouse of Acidity

While the mousse enlivens your palate, and the extended lees ageing brings a toasty, baked-goods richness to the flavour profile, the most often overlooked component of an excellent traditional method sparkling wine is its acidity. Without the crisp, refreshing upside these wines would be flabby, cloying, unappealing, but with bracing acidity in the mix sparkling wines become the unbeatable, and hard to pin down why they are just so darn satisfying.

Here in Nova Scotia, we are moderated by both our northern latitude and our coastal climate, meaning our winters are mercifully mild and our summers relatively cool when compared to other regions of North America. Being quite northern and coastal, we do not experience the same heat units and daylight hours that other warm wine regions would, meaning our grapes are grown in slow ripening conditions. The cool evenings that come with the breezes off the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean actually halt the ripening process overnight during harvest season. This is crucial for preserving acidity in fruit that is gaining in sugar and aromatics as it ripens on the vine. This results in a delayed harvest season - Nova Scotia's harvest ending in October / early November compared to wrapping up in August / mid-September for California - that allows our grapes to mature to the fullest expression of their aromatics while maintaining its zippy tartness.

This incredibly elusive, powerhouse combination of extreme acidity, full aromatic expression, and extended lees ageing in the cellar to achieve both toasty notes and fine mousse, results in Benjamin Bridge's traditional method sparkling wines which cannot be emulated in any other region. This singularity is what defines our house style and can be tasted in each one of our sparklings. Want to try these for yourself but don't know where to start? We highly recommend our Sparkling Series Pack that highlights the best of our program: Brut, Brut Rosé, Brut Reserve, NV Brut, and NV Rosé. 


Exceptional Versatility with Seasonal Produce

Summer in the Annapolis Valley is a time of great abundance, with our farm markets brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables. Nova Scotia’s natural acidity and understated sweetness of sparkling wines make them incredibly versatile, allowing them to complement a wide range of summer produce. Whether you're enjoying a salad of ripe tomatoes and fresh basil, a platter of juicy peaches and berries, or a dish of grilled asparagus and zucchini, a glass of sparkling wine can enhance these flavors without overwhelming them.

Fruits - The bright acidity of sparkling wines balances the sweetness of summer fruits. For instance, our sparkling rosé, with its hints of red berries, pairs beautifully with strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, enhancing their natural flavors.

Veggies - Sparkling wines with higher acidity can cut through the richness of grilled vegetables, providing a refreshing contrast. Our brut sparkling wine, with its clean and crisp profile, complements the smoky and charred notes of grilled zucchini, bell peppers, and corn.



Perfect Pairing for Grilled Fare, Seafood, & Meats

Grilling is a beloved summer tradition, and the robust flavors of grilled foods call for a wine that can stand up to them. While you may think you need a bitter beer or tannic red wine, sparkling wines, with their acidity, aromatics, and mousse, are surprisingly ideal for this purpose. The acidity in sparkling wines acts as a palate cleanser, cutting through the fat and richness of grilled meats and seafood, while the bready notes provide a fullness and depth. Meanwhile, the bubbles provide a textural contrast that enhances flavors and adds to the overall dining experience.

Nova Scotia is renowned for its exceptional, mouth-watering seafood. The briny, savory flavors of grilled scallops, shrimp, and halibut are beautifully complemented by sparkling wines. A blanc de blancs, made from Chardonnay, offers a crisp and clean profile that highlights the delicate flavors of seafood. Benjamin Bridge sparkling wines are also known for their slight brininess that emanates from our terroir, making sparkling a no-brainer choice when it comes to seafood.

For heartier options like grilled chicken, pork, or even steak, a sparkling wine with more body and complexity, such as a vintage brut, can remarkably hold its own. The wine's acidity cuts through the meat's richness, while the bubbles add an element of lightness. We have won over many guests in our own homes with this somewhat surprising pairing.

A Celebration of the Season

Summer is a time of lightness, of spontaneous gatherings, and a festive feeling, and nothing says celebration quite like a bottle of sparkling wine. The act of opening a bottle, the sound of the cork popping, and the sight of bubbles rising in the glass all contribute to a sense of festivity and joy. Whether you're hosting a backyard barbecue, a picnic in the park, or a beachside gathering, sparkling wine adds an element of joy and sophistication to any occasion. At Benjamin Bridge, we take pride in creating sparkling wines that bring people together and elevate the spirit of any occasion.

Not sure what wine to choose for an event? We recommend starting with our NV Sparklings Pack that highlights two of our fan-favorite sparklings since we began our non-vintage program in 2015NV Brut and NV Rosé. Bright and balanced, each bottle draws from our reserve wines stretching back to our original harvest in 2002.

The Benjamin Bridge Experience

At Benjamin Bridge, our commitment to excellence and sustainability shines through in every bottle of sparkling wine we produce. Our traditional method sparkling wines are what launched our reputation and helped put Nova Scotia on the world wine map. Crafted with care, using grapes from our Gaspereau Valley vineyards and our small roster of grape-growing farmers in the Annapolis Valley, our sparklings embrace the unique terroir of Nova Scotia’s wine region. Our commitment to quality and sustainability ensures that each bottle of sparkling wine is not only a delight to drink but also a reflection of our dedication to the land and the community. The result is a range of sparkling wines that reflect our dedication to quality and our passion for creating wines that are both delicious and environmentally responsible.

As you embrace the warmth and abundance of summer, we invite you to explore our range of sparkling wines. From the crisp and elegant NV Brut to the rich and complex Brut Reserve, there's a Benjamin Bridge sparkling wine for every palate and every occasion. So, raise a glass, savor the bubbles, and let the summer shine on!

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