Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine
Niagara Peninsula VQA, Canada
95 Points, Editors' Choice
September 1, 2021, Paul Gregutt
“Cabernet Franc, both still and sweet, is a rising star in eastern Canada. As an ice wine it's rare and distinctive, aromatic and focused. Honey, molasses, caramel, bubble tea, sweet tobacco, candied apricot, blueberry and blackberry jam mark the dizzying mix of flavors. There's enough tannin to cut through, and this very special wine makes a splendid dessert all by itself.”
The Wine Advocate
May 13, 2021, Mark Squires
“The 2019 Cabernet Franc Icewine comes in with 265 grams of residual sugar, 9.6 of total acidity and 9.5% alcohol. This was bottled in January of 2021. This is probably the most distinctive of the winery's offerings because of that Cabernet Franc base. You won't mistake it for anything else—the pink-red color will give you a heads up before you see the label or taste it. Yes, you can tell on tasting it too—there are hints of herbs and a touch of charred green veggies, even if mostly subdued by the ice wine process and the sugar, to go with the typical unctuousness of the brand. I really liked the difference this year, as this showed off its personality as well as some of its freshness.”
Though Icewine's roots can be traced to centuries-old German winemakers, there is nothing more quintessentially Canadian than this luscious luxury borne of patience and subzero bravura. Grapes are left on the vine well into the winter months to concentrate and intensify the flavors, as water content freezes, thaws and dehydrates in each precious Icewine grape. Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake at the historic Brae Burn Estate, Inniskillin has been producing world-renowned Icewines from grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula since 1984.
The red berry characteristics of Cabernet Franc translate as an Icewine into strawberry like aromas and flavors. This Icewine is completely different from the white Icewines. The color 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.
The grapes for this Cabernet Franc Icewine were harvested from select vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula at a frigid temperature of -10°C. Pressed immediately the viscous juice was cold settled for 7 days before racking and inoculating. Fermented cool for approximately 21 days the resulting wine was filtered and transferred to a stainless steel tank to await bottling.
This decadent Niagara Peninsula Icewine shows an abundance of rhubarb, and raspberry aromatics, with plenty of flavors of cherry, and strawberries and cream. This wine shows a beautiful balance of richness and acidity.
With the early onset of below seasonal temperatures, many Niagara wineries took advantage of harvesting Icewine grapes on November 12th, the earliest date recorded by VQA Ontario. The Inniskillin team opted for more ideal conditions and began harvest on December 18th, when the bulk of the grapes were picked. Harvest wrapped up on February 9th, 2020.
Pairs beautifully with chocolate mousse, strawberries, and blueberry pudding.
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Franc
Wine Alcohol: 9.5%
Titratable Acidity: 9.6 g/L
Residual Sugar: 265 g/L