A few years ago, we complained that the NLC had a wide selection of the world’s worst rosé wines. They turned that around and several decent bottles of pink at reasonable prices are now on the shelves of the Government booze barns.
Time for another assessment of the offerings at NLC.
As always, let’s start with France. While the NLC has the best selection of Bordeaux wines outside Bordeaux, there are significant gaps elsewhere. The NLC now offers but one Beaujolais cru. This would have been forgivable years ago, but a renaissance in that region means we deserve a few more Beaujolais wines (please not Duboeuf) on the bill.
The NLC has never given us a wide choice of wine from the Loire Valley. There is much favourable price/quality ratio, food-friendly Chinon, Bourgeuil and Saumur-Champigny reds, as well as Chenin Blanc based white wines from that region, from dry to intensely sweet, that we need to taste.
From Spain, the NLC offers mostly middling internationally styled Riojas, and a couple of the better examples. They’ve experimented carrying a variety of alternatives that didn’t catch on with local consumers, so have missed the new excitement in Ribeiria Sacra and Beirzo (I think they carried one Beirzo for a short time). The NLC has done a good job upping the Sherry offerings.
NLC has done well to expand its offerings from Italy, though a little more variety from Sicily, where there’s been new ferment, would be welcome.
There’s been a change in wine making philosophy among some California winemakers, a movement calling itself “In Pursuit of Balance.” The handle says it all; a move away from fruit bombs and blockbusters, away from jammy reds and cloying butterscotch-flavoured whites. Be nice to see more representation from this crowd, though we appreciate the exchange on the dollar makes them expensive here.
The “natural wine” movement is probably the most exciting area of exploration in the wine world, but they aren’t terrifically stable, and it might be too commercially risky shipping them here.
You have only to travel to Nova Scotia to realize how good are our choices overall. For a faraway place with a tiny population, wine drinkers are generally well served by the NLC.