Grapes for the Riesling icewine originate from the Brae Burn Estate just north of Niagara Falls. 13,000 years ago a large continental glacier retreated during the onset of the current interglacial warm period, leaving behind mineral-rich deposits. Thanks to the warming influence of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, the region’s temperatures during the fruit-ripening phase are moderate and consistent. However, the wine requires dedicated pickers, who harvest grapes at night in temperatures as low as -15˚C!! Vineyard pests include Elk and Grizzly Bears!
Inniskillin was founded in 1975 by Austrian chemist Karl Kaiser and Italian-Canadian agriculture graduate Donald Ziraldo. In 1984, to make the most of the extreme Canadian winter, Kaiser produced his first Icewine; earning significant attention from the international wine world, the producers are now synonymous with the best quality icewine. One practice that sets them apart from competitors is that they harvest grapes at a higher brix – or sugar – level than is legally required, producing wines of greater intensity and richness.
The grapes for this classic icewine were harvested from select vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake part of the cool climate Niagara Peninsula. Mineral-rich soils are the result of melting glaciers that left behind large and varied deposits of gravel, sand and clay, when they receded approximately 13,000 years ago. Thanks to the warming influence of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, the region’s temperatures during the fruit-ripening phase are moderate and consistent.
Picked at -10°C, the frozen grapes were pressed immediately removing the ice crystals to leave a small amount of highly concentrated juice. After cold settling the juice was racked and fermented in stainless steel at a cool 15ºC for 26 days.
This wine demands a fine fruit dessert with exotic, even tropical, emphasis. Ripe Mango, Muscat or Sable grapes, and a Passion fruit drizzle salad with cinnamon ice cream would be wonderful! Or just sip and savour on its own.
In the Press
Gold – Decanter World Wine Awards 2020
Gold – Sommelier Wine Awards 2019