Niagara Ice Wine Festival Ontario Canada - Inniskillin Ice Wine

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Niagara Ice Wine Festival Ontario Canada - Inniskillin Ice Wine
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Canadian Icewine - Niagara Ice Wine Festival - Inniskillin Ice Wine

Niagara Ice Wine Festival - Inniskillin Ice Wine

by Wade Rowland - Part 5

Inniskillin Ice Wine
Inniskillin Ice Wine
Inniskillin Wines
Photo © Christine Collie

Once the frozen ice wine grapes are picked, they're trucked directly to the presses, and crushed to release their sweet, concentrated juice. Only about 10 percent of the juice that would be yielded in a normal, autumn harvest is collected. Once casked, the fermentation process must be watched carefully with active yeasts being added to replace those that have been killed off by frost.

If it all works out, the result a year later can be a bottle of pure ambrosia. Drinkable as soon as they are released, icewines are fresh and clean-finishing; aged as long as a decade, they develop a stronger flavour and linger longer on the palate.

We were lucky enough to be invited to sample some of the renowned 1989 Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine holder of the Grand Prix that put Ontario on the ice wine map. Only about 25 cases of this rare vintage remain, and when a periodic limited release happens or for a special request purchase, one of these small narrow bottles would set you back $500.

We can vouch that ice wine does indeed age very nicely. The aged 1989 Vidal had deepened in colour, become more complex and taken on honey-like qualities - it was an pleasure.

A typical icewine has intense fruit flavours and aromas, with a stiff backbone of acidity. It is the acidity that distinguishes icewines from other desert wines, and when it's in perfect balance with the sweetness that comes from low temperature harvesting, you have a great wine.

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