Inniskillin Riesling Icewine

By | July 12, 2006

English: A bottle of the first Canadian ice wi...

The paperclip guy has finally traded his way from a single paperclip to a house, and so tonight it’s time for a wine from his home, Canada. Canada may not seem an obvious wine producing nation, even with global warming on its way, but with hot summers and guaranteed cold winters the shores of Lake Ontario are perfect for making ice wine.

Originally the preserve of German wine makers ice wine (eiswein) is made from grapes that have been left to on the vines, drying out through the autumn, until they freeze around Christmas. It’s pressed cold so most of the water stays as ice crystals, but the sugars and other good stuff make it into the wine. This does mean laughably small yields and correspondingly tear jerkingly high prices.

Inniskillin is Canada’s best known producer and I recently tried their 2004 Riesling. At £50 for a half bottle it’s not an everyday wine, but if you’re feeling flush give it a go.  I got some from Berry Bros & Rudd.

It’s a beautiful honey coloured wine, with a heady scent of honey, apricots and mangos with orange blossom. It’s intensely sweet, but with enough zingy acidity to prevent it being cloying. The wine tastes of apricots, orange marmalade, honey and tropical fruits, with some sweet spices which add some warmth and a lime zest zip.

The flavour and the sweetness stay in the mouth for ages, you certainly don’t want to gulp this wine, it’s a sipping drink and at 10.5% it makes a nice change from stronger dessert wines. You can drink it now or save it for up to five years, it could get even better.