Inniskillin Gold Vidal Icewine
September 1, 2021, Paul Gregutt
“A thick streak of pineapple slices through this dense, almost syrupy dessert wine. Candied fruits are at the core, a mix of apricot, peach, papaya and citrus. Running through the long finish are hints of brown sugar, maple sugar and honey. It is finished at 240 g/L of residual sugar.”
The Wine Advocate
May 13, 2021, Mark Squires
“The 2018 Gold Vidal Icewine was fermented for about three weeks in new French oak and then aged for another three months in French oak. It comes in with 234 grams of residual sugar, 10.5 of total acidity and 9.5% alcohol. On paper, this should be brighter and fresher than the 2018 unoaked ice wine, but the oak flattens it out. The wood gives it a lusher and richer texture but subdues both the fruit and whatever freshness it had. That's somewhat deceptive, as the acidity is still there, but the perceptible balance certainly changes. This just seems to be more on the stolid and brooding side. On the one hand, that means it never seems to go over the top in unctuousness, but on the other hand, the flavors are rather submerged. I'd personally rather have any of the unoaked versions, but reasonable minds might differ.”
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.
Vidal is a hybrid (Ugni Blanc and Seibel) that has a thick skin suitable for harvesting late in the season. It is the grape grown most for Icewine in Ontario. Its natural acidity gives great structure to the lusciousness of its tropical aromas and flavors of mango and lychee.
With the temperature dropping to -10°C the Vidal grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula were picked and pressed immediately upon arrival at the winery. The viscous juice was allowed to cold settle for 3 days after which time it was racked clean and inoculated with a specific strain of yeast and was fermented in new French oak at an average temperature of 15°C for 16 days. The wine was allowed to age an additional 3 months in oak before racking.
Generous amounts of ripe fruit give aromatics of peach, mango, and orange. Flavors of apricot and citrus with hints of clove and a touch of vanilla make this a classic Niagara Peninsula Icewine.
After a spectacular warm and dry fall the weather turned sharply cold in November, bringing the first hard frost in the first week of the month and the first freeze/thaw event shortly thereafter allowing the grapes to begin developing all the classic Icewine characteristics. Ready for harvesting in the early morning of December 14 the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Vidal were harvested over the next few consecutive days, as temperatures were perfect falling between -9°C to -11°C. Thanks to this early harvest, the juice was of the highest quality, with plentiful yields and excellent concentration.
Always good with the traditional crème brule and crème caramel; try tropical fruit compote, roasted peaches or pineapple with panacotta; cheeses from fresh chèvre to parmesan with a dribbling of honey; brown butter lobster salad with baby arugala and hazelnuts.
Varietals: 100% Vidal Blanc
Wine Alcohol: 9.5%
Titratable Acidity: 10.5 g/L
Residual Sugar: 233.6 g/L