This tasting was part of the Pinehurst Food and Wine Festival over Labor Day weekend.
Constellation, a humongous wine and liquor entity, purchased Inniskillen, Vincor, Jackson-Triggs (all Canadian) and Kim Crawford (New Zealand). Robert Mondavi wines also come under Constellation now. Icon Estates is the fine wine component of Constellation. I attended a seminar/tasting on Ice Wine by a spokesman for Icon Estates who is also one of the founders of the Triangle Wine Experience in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.
The grapes for the ice wines we tasted are grown in the Niagara Peninsula of Canada and the wines are made with 10-12% residual sugar. We first had a VIDAL SPARKLING ICE WINE (no mousse or bubbles evident). Medium gold color. Plenty of acid structure. (Vidal is a European/American hybrid grape).
Next we had a RIESLING ICE WINE (btw, I've seen ice wine as two words, one word or hyphenated so will use the two words in English--it's one word in German, Eiswein).
The Riesling was lovely and came through as advertised with apricot/nectar and honey nose. It was chewier than the first wine. Still had the acid structure to balance the residual sugar.
Then we had a CABERNET FRANC ICE WINE. I really liked this one too. It is about $65 the half bottle (more expensive than the Riesling at about $58 the half bottle). Red berry nose--strawberry or maybe strawberry/raspberry mix. Very nice.
Finally the Inniskillen OAK-AGED VIDAL ICE WINE. A bit of fermentation takes place in oak barrels but the fermentation starts in stainless steel. Not much new oak is utilized. It was not oppressively oaked, but I prefered the purer aromas/flavors of the unoaked wines.
I wanted to buy a half bottle of the Riesling (and maybe later order more Riesling plus the Cabernet Franc) but the Riesling was sold out when I inquired so I took home a half bottle of the C.F.
It was a treat to sample such limited production wines.