Happy Canada day!
Wheee!! Yippy!! Today, as everything is closed (bank holiday and all) we decided to visit the Niagara vineyards. Now, now, stifle those titters. Canadians are making good wines...at least they are much better than British "stuff"! Ick! The tours around the vineyards were informative and the tastings were, erm...fun. (don't remember much of it except something to do with a pinot noir...). Interesting wine which thrives in the Niagara cool winters = Ice wine.
Here's how it's made:
Grapes are left on the vine well into the winter
months. The resulting freezing and thawing of the grapes dehydrates the fruit,
and concentrates the sugars, acids, and extracts in the berries, thereby
intensifying the flavours and adding complexity to the wine made from
it.Genuine icewine must follow VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) regulations
that prohibit any artificial freezing of grapes. The grapes are painstakingly
picked by hand in their natural frozen state, ideally at temperatures of -10 to
-13 degrees C -- sometimes the picking must be done at night to take advantage
of the temperature. Yields are very low, often as little as 5-10 percent of
normal.The frozen grapes are pressed in the extreme cold. The water in the
juice remains frozen as ice crystals, and only a few drops of sweet concentrated
juice is obtained. This juice is then fermented very slowly for several months,
stopping naturally.The finished icewine is intensely sweet and flavorful in
the initial mouth sensation. The balance is achieved by the acidity, which gives
a clean, dry finish. The nose of icewine recalls lychee nuts. The wine tastes of
tropical fruits, with shadings of peach nectar and mango.
See http://www.inniskillin.com/en/default.asp for more info.