Canada and several European nations, including Austria and Germany, sell ice wine. However, some information that is specific to Canadians suggests that the country is the top producer of ice wine. Here are the five best ice wines in Canada, especially Niagara and Quebec, you should try.
What Is Ice Wine?
Ice wine is a type of dessert wine made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Grape juice can become more concentrated because water freezes even though sugars and other dissolved solids do not. After pressing the must from the frozen grapes, a smaller volume of highly concentrated, extremely sweet juice is produced. Ice wines are fermented first and then frozen, not the other way around.
Only healthy grapes survive until the chance for an ice wine harvest presents itself, which in extreme circumstances can take place after the New Year on a northern hemisphere calendar. Due to the high acidity and refreshing sweetness, ice wine acquires its distinctive flavor. It is said that grapes arrive “clean” when they are free of Botrytis.
Canada Is The Top Producer Of Ice Wine In The World
Since icewine is so well-liked in Canada, nearly 900,000 liters of it are produced there between British Columbia and Ontario each year, with about 75 percent coming from Ontario. Although iced apple cider really shines in Quebec, some ice wine is made there as well as in Nova Scotia, usually in very small quantities, and it’s hardly ever sold in Alberta. Since German winters couldn’t consistently produce cold enough temperatures to freeze grapes on the vine, icewine, as it is known in English, has been around for centuries. However, it was a rarity. In the Great White North, where it is almost a given that every winter will be cold enough for icewine, they don’t have that “problem.”
Every bottle of Canadian ice wine must bear the VQA logo on the label because the VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) oversees the regulation of ice wine production in Canada. Although B.C. and Ontario each have their own VQA, the rules are comparable and, in a nutshell, require that producers register their intention to make ice wine, that grapes come from a recognized wine appellation in Canada, have minimum sugar content, and be frozen on the vine.
Canada’s Best Ice Wines
Domaine Pinnacle 2010 Ice Cider, Quebec
Although not technically ice wine, there is no denying that a Canadian winter in Quebec can have a magical effect on both apples and grapes. This intense, floral, and delicious cider has bright apple flavors and a light nuttiness. It goes well with a variety of comfort-food desserts (hint: think apple crumble).
Price: $33 (375mL)
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery 2010, The Lost Bars Vidal Icewine, B.C.
One of the best ice wines in Canada is Ganton & Larsen. The rich apricot and honey flavors of the Lost Bars pair well with blue cheese or cheesecake, and they have just the right amount of acid to give them a little zing. An excellent British Columbian vidal.
Price: $46 (375mL)
Henry of Pelham Riesling Ice wine, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
This wine is the ideal example of why riesling makes such fantastic ice wine, with lovely lemon, honey, and apricot flavors, as well as a superb acidity backbone tying it all together. This would be the everyday icewine if there were such a thing.
Price: $74 (375mL)
Inniskillin Estates 2011 Sparkling Vidal Ice wine, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
A little gimmicky, sparkling ice wine may seem, but if it works, why not? The bubbles, which are a little smaller than those in sparkling table wine, help to remove some of the wine’s sweetness while also reviving the palate with flavors of lemon and honey and a lovely, effervescent texture. Delicious by itself or with desserts that contain lemon.
Price: $76 (375mL)
Stratus 2010 Red Ice wine, Niagara Peninsula
This excellent red ice wine, which is unusual in that it is a blend of red grapes, is mildly spicy and has flavors of dried strawberries and raspberries, as well as plum and a tiny bit of bitter chocolate on the palate. It tastes good to me either by itself or with a little dark chocolate.
Price: $45 (375mL)