Fri 4 Jan 2008
One of the world’s most unusual wines is Inniskillin’s Vidal Sparkling Ice Wine, from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula. Inniskillin, now owned by Constellation Brands, specializes in beautifully-made ice wines made primarily from vidal or riesling grapes, though there’s also a highly unusual ice wine made from cabernet franc that’s deliriously delicious, I mean shiver-inducing, with a piece of dark chocolate.
The Inniskillin Vidal Sparkling Ice Wine 2005 sports a medium gold color with a tinge of brassy-green. The bubbles come not from the traditional champagne method but through the Charmat process of fermentation in a closed chamber to retain carbon dioxide, though you shouldn’t let that worry your pretty little head because the bubbles are constant and lively and true. The wine opens with a burst of pure apple and pear and nectarine, followed by spiced and buttered peaches. Flavors lean toward roasted peaches and apricots with hints of apple skin and orange rind steeped in cloves and cinnamon. The texture is amazing, because for all the crisp acidity and balletic effervescence this is dense, nectar-like, almost viscous from start to finish. Sip this on its own at the end of a meal or with the simplest and least sweet desserts like a plain apple tart or a shortbread cookie. This certainly merits an Excellent rating. Prices range from about $70 to $85 for a half-bottle.
OMIGOD, tomorrow is Twelfth Night, and thus the last entry in our champagne and sparkling wine countdown of The Twelve Days of Christmas! Check back to see how we handle the situation.