Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine (375ML half-bottle) 2017
The red berry characteristics of the vinifera grape Cabernet Franc translate as an Icewine into strawberry like aromas and flavors. This Icewine is completely different from the white Icewines. The colour comes from pressing only as there is no skin contact during fermentation. The earlier it is harvested, the darker the color and the deeper the flavors.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A spectacular year for icewines, this exotic and beautiful wine—a stunning burnt-orange hue—boasts 244 g/L of residual sugar, yet is not a bit syrupy. Strawberry jam, blackberry pie, toffee, coffee gelato, cinnamon spice and more—the hits just keep on coming. One halfbottle, expensive though it is, will stretch for a half dozen sweet tooths as long as you take plenty of time to savor the lingering finish.
The 2017 Cabernet Franc Icewine comes in with 244 grams of residual sugar, 9.15 of total acidity and a pH of 3.27. The price references a half bottle. I don't think this is the best of the group, but it certainly is the most distinctive. The grape gives it some extra weight and a certain earthiness. You can certainly identify this by its Cab Franc character, which manages to shine through—you can taste herbs cutting the sugar, which certainly makes this a lot different than the white dessert wines offered this issue. As eccentric as it originally seemed, some air partly changed that. The next day, it pulled in some of the herbs and seemed a bit more mainstream. Still, it was always a little different, a long way from the more classic white stickies submitted this issue. It also seemed a little less focused and a bit syrupy at that point.
What is Icewine?
VQA Icewine is a highly concentrated dessert wine made by harvesting grapes naturally frozen on the vine at -10 C in December-January. Inniskillin VQA Icewine is internationally awarded and recognized and is exported throughout the world.
With a cool climate suitable for more than just icewine production, Canada is also home to excellent dry, still and sparkling Canadian wines. Most viticulture is based in Ontario on the east coast and British Columbia on the west coast. Because of the high risk of winter freeze and spring frost, plantings are typically centered on large bodies of water to take advantage of their temperature moderating effects.
In Ontario, particularly on the Niagara Peninsula, aromatic white varieties like Riesling and Gewürztraminer are most successful. Many Canadian wineries produce both dry and semi-dry versions. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc perform nicely here as well. For icewine, French-American hybrid variety, Vidal, is popular. In British Columbia, many of the same grapes are grown, but there is also a significant emphasis on Bordeaux varieties—especially Merlot.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.