Inniskillin 2004 Niagara Peninsula VQA Cabernet Franc Ice Wine ($100.00)
This is a very pretty wine with a transparent light-ruby color that's light for a red wine but deeper in hue than a rosé. The aromas offer ripe, appealing red-berry fruit with subtle nuances: Intense raspberry scents catch the attention first, then a whiff of strawberry, with a sharper fruit note behind the berries ... fresh apples, or maybe apple skin; then comes a delicate, intriguing back note of green chile peppers, almost akin to the "jalapeño" character familiar in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate it's very full-bodied and unctuous, coating the mouth with an almost oily mouthfeel, syrupy and sticky-sweet, luscious ripe raspberries with sufficient tart acidity to bring it all together. It's quite an impressive wine in the ice-wine style, a celebration of intense sweetness and fruit, although the problem with ice wine for me is that it offers intensity without the subtlety or finesse that, for me, justifies a high-end investment in a bottle of wine. US Importer: R.H. Phillips Inc., Esparto, Calif. (Feb 5, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: My advice remains: Drink dessert wines as dessert, not with dessert, enjoying their sweetness and flavor on its own. That being said, however, Inniskillin boasts that the Cabernet Franc ice wine makes an exceptional partner with chocolate desserts, a classic combination worth trying if you're indulging for Valentine's Day. The winery also suggests caramelized desserts like creme brulee or blue cheeses.



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