I spend quite a bit of time in Toronto, Canada, where Icewine is a well-known and celebrated dessert staple. Unfortunately, the rest of the world hasn’t exactly caught on yet! While the sweet variety isn’t cheap, it is certainly worth every penny and is crafted lovingly in the vineyards of Southern Ontario. If you’re not sure where to start in the vast world of Icewine– don’t worry! Here’s everything you need to know about Ontario Icewine.
Where does it come from?
Canadian Ice Wine comes from Southern Ontario, a province in Canada, where it has been produced since 1984. Ontario has been considered a leading producer on the global stage since 1991. This was the year Inniskillin (more on this producer later) won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Bordeaux’s Vinexpo wine fair – gaining the recognition it deserved.
What does it taste like?
Icewine is intensely flavoured. It’s sweet, as it should be served as a dessert wine. It contains rich aromas and flavours of tropical and exotic fruits. Although sweet, these wines also contain a delicious acidity – making them perfectly balanced and full-bodied.
How is it made?
In Ontario, Icewine must be made from approved grape varieties. These include Vidal Blanc, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc. Other, less popular varieties include Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the autumn, grapes are covered with netting and left on the vine until a temperature of -8C is sustained, usually sometime in January. The grapes dehydrate and the juices become concentrated.
Grape growers carefully watch the weather and look for an optimal stretch of temperatures between -10C and -12C. The grapes are then harvested, often by hand! While still frozen, the grapes are pressed and most of the water is left behind as ice. Juice yields for Icewine grapes are much lower than that of table wines – usually only about 15%. What’s left is a finished wine, with a deliciously high sugar content.
How do you serve it?
Icewine should be served chilled. It can be enjoyed alone as the dessert, or paired with strongly flavoured foods – such as dark chocolate or aged blue cheeses.
While any Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Icewine should be delicious, I currently have two favourites: Henry of Pelham, Riesling Icewine and Inniskillin,Riesling Icewine. Give them a try and comment to let me know how much you enjoyed them!
Are you looking for a delicious bottle of wine for your next dinner party or event? Visit our website: Cadmanfinewines.co.uk.