Inniskillin is now synonymous with top quality Icewine and consistently sets the bar at a much greater height than its competitors. They harvest at a higher brix level (roughly equivalent to the percentage of sugar in the juice) than the minimum set by the VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance in Ontario) and their wines have a higher level of residual sugar. This gives richer, more intense wines that merit their higher price. Inniskillin was founded in 1975 by Austrian chemist Karl Kaiser and Italian-Canadian agriculture graduate Donald Ziraldo, who worked tirelessly to introduce better vines and superior winemaking techniques to Niagara. In 1984, to make the most of the extreme Canadian winter, Kaiser produced his first Icewine - a pivotal point in garnering attention from the international wine world.
The Niagara Peninsula is a cool climate region and the mineral-rich soils are the result of melting glaciers that left behind large and varied deposits of gravel, sand and clay, as they receded approximately 13,000 years ago. Thanks to the warming influence of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, the region's temperatures during fruit-ripening are moderate and consistent.
Extremely cold temperatures in January and February brought with them some initial challenges, but despite the rough start, the grapes enjoyed a better growing season than expected. Good flavour and brix accumulation occurred in late September and all through October thanks to the warm, dry days and cool evenings. The big temperature shifts between daytime highs and night time lows were perfect for the development of aromatics and flavour compounds in the grapes.
The frozen Vidal grapes were picked and pressed immediately upon arrival at the winery. The viscous juice was allowed to cold settle for three days before being racked clean and inoculated with a specifically selected strain of yeast. The juice was fermented in new French oak at an average temperature of 15ºC for 16 days before being allowed to age for an additional three months in oak prior to bottling.
Aromas of tropical fruit, with mango and orange dominate on the nose. On the palate, there is an abundance of fruit flavours, including peach, nectarine and citrus, that are all balanced by the crisp lively acidity of this complex, oak aged Icewine.