Inniskillin Gold Vidal Icewine (375ML half-bottle) 2017
This rich and concentrated Icewine boasts flavors of ripe peach and juicy tangerine with a touch of warm baking spice. The lively acidity adds the perfect balance to this delicious nectar, its smooth texture and solid structure lead to an extended fruit filled finish.
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In a sensational vintage for icewine, this wine clocks in at 252 g/L residual sugar. Rare, expensive and luxurious, it takes you on a deep dive into flavors of honey, maple sugar, brown sugar, rock candy, sweet citrus, orange, peach, butterscotch and caramel. Try it with pecan pie.
Pronounced roasted pineapple and ripe mango aromatics; round, intense and viscous in the mouth. Finishes with an appealing zesty aftertaste.
The 2017 Gold Vidal Icewine was fermented for about three weeks in new French oak and then aged for another four months in French oak. It comes in at 9.5% alcohol, 256 grams of residual sugar and 9.94 of total acidity with a pH of 3.6. The price references a half bottle. Why trade up from the regular Vidal? Well, they are quite different in style. It's more about the style than any qualitative difference. This has a fuller feel in the mouth. It is much denser. The wood is not noticeable as such, but it gives this a less unctuous texture and a little more character, cutting the relentless sugar hit a little. To be sure, the price paid for that gain is the loss of a little purity and freshness. It is still sexy and quite delicious, so don't worry about that too much. On the first day tasted, this was my favorite of the two Vidals. When they were retasted the next day, it was tossup. This seemed a bit more stolid, relatively speaking.
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.