Inniskillin Vidal Oak Aged Icewine Canada Ontario Niagara White 2003
Grapes are left on the vine well into the winter months. The resulting freezing and thawing of the grapes dehydrates the fruit, and concentrates the sugars, acids, and extracts in the berries, thereby intensifying the flavours and adding complexity to the wine made from it. Genuine icewine must follow VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) regulations that prohibit any artificial freezing of grapes. The grapes are painstakingly picked by hand in their natural frozen state, ideally at temperatures of -10 to -13 degrees C -- sometimes the picking must be done at night to take advantage of the temperature. Yields are very low, often as little as 5-10 percent of normal. The frozen grapes are pressed in the extreme cold. The water in the juice remains frozen as ice crystals, and only a few drops of sweet concentrated juice is obtained. This juice is then fermented very slowly for several months, stopping naturally. The finished icewine is intensely sweet and flavorful in the initial mouth sensation. The balance is achieved by the acidity, which gives a clean, dry finish. The nose of icewine recalls lychee nuts. The wine tastes of tropical fruits, with shadings of peach nectar and mango. Icewine is winter's gift to the wine lover: one of the best-kept secrets of the wine world that garners gold medals in virtually every competition in which it is entered. The greatest of international accolade for Canadian Icewine was bestowed on Inniskillin 1989 Icewine at Vinexpo, Bordeaux, in June 1991. This wine, judged by an international panel, was accorded the fair's highest award, Le Grand Prix d'Honneur.
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It was the 1989 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine that won a gold medal at Vinexpo in 1991, bringing Canada to the fore as a cool-climate premium quality wine-producing country. The winery, now owned by Constellation Brands, who added it to its portfolio when it bought Vincor in a $1.3 billion deal last year, was originally founded by visionary Donald Ziraldo and his partner Karl Kaiser in 1974. While the winery produces a mind-boggling array of dry and off dry table wines, it is best known for its luscious, highly perfumed and exquisitely concentrated icewines. Why add bubbles to something so rich and sweet? Why not, when a steady stream of visitors from Japan request so much that a limit must be placed on how many bottles they are allowed to purchase!Unctuous, very sweet, and softly sparkling, this bright golden yellow nectar has notes of straw, yellow, white, and pink roses, lilies, soft summer breeze, honey, key lime pie, and peach, that classic Vidal marker. The soft sparkle is persistent, giving balance as viscosity, sweetness, and exotic headiness are lifted by the bead. The wine has a long clean lemony/peachy finish.
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