Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine
Niagara Peninsula VQA, Canada
September 1, 2021, Paul Gregutt
“This unusual take on an Icewine marries the bubbles to honeyed, deeply-layered tree fruits. Tones of ripe apples, peaches and apricots with a broad streak of honey are further enlivened by the sparkles. Sweet but not cloying, this would be a fine match to any blue cheese.”
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. Inniskillin Vidal Icewine is made in two distinct styles.
The grapes for this Icewine were harvested at an average temperature of 14°F. Pressed immediately upon their arrival at the winery, the resulting juice was an ideal 37.7 brix. Inoculated with a specific strain of yeast, the juice was allowed to ferment under pressure in a charmat tank at an average temperature of 63°F until it reached an alcohol of 9.5%.
Bright aromas and flavors of fresh tropical fruits dominate the nose and palate. This unique styled Icewine is overflowing with notes of ripe peach, candied lemon, juicy pineapple and lychee, and is balanced by the dry sensation brought forth by the effervescence. The juicy and concentrated flavors dance on your palate, through to an extended, fruit-filled finish.
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 Vidal grapes were harvested over the next few consecutive days, as temperatures were falling between 15°F to 12°F. Thanks to this early harvest, the juice was of the highest quality, with plentiful yields and excellent concentration.
Pairs beautifully with tuna tartare with fresh chili, and tempura blue crab with mango and cucumber salsa. Rich cheeses from brie to blue. Fresh fruit desserts and great with crème brûlée.
Varietals: 100% Vidal Blanc
Wine Alcohol: 9.5%
Titratable Acidity: 10.4 g/L
Residual Sugar: 241 g/L