Great Wine from The Great White North

One of the biggest things we’ve learned in our years in the wine business is that good wine can come from just about anywhere on the globe. You wouldn’t expect, for example, that a country as snowy and cold as Canada could produce a world-class wine but where there’s a will, there’s a way. The team at Jackson-Triggs had the will and found a unique winemaking process that took advantage of their native Canadian climate to produce Icewine.
As the name suggests, Icewine is made from grapes that are literally frozen when they are harvested and pressed. The results are some intense and concentrated wines with natural sugars balanced with natural acidities creating a unique sensation on the palate of a surprisingly dry finish. Jackson-Triggs, which has repeatedly been named “Best Canadian Winery” at international and domestic competitions, makes a Vidal Icewine known for its sweetness, concentrated aromatic flavors, and intensity. The richly textured wine displays fresh tropical aromas of papaya, mango, and apricot. Bold fruit flavors balanced with the fine acidity caress the palate and conclude with an exquisite silky finish. This holiday season, it’s available wherever fine wine is sold for $19.99.
What exactly is Icewine?
While most wineries do everything they can to harvest before the weather turns too cold, Icewine producers like Jackson-Triggs wait well into chilly December before they even consider harvesting. In fact, Canada’s quality control and appellation of origin system, Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA), won’t consider something Icewine unless the grapes were harvested below 18°F. Artificial freezing is also strictly forbidden, so the Icewine producers have to bundle up and face the elements for the harvest their grapes.
Icewine gets its unique taste from the frozen grapes. The water content freezes, thaws, and dehydrates in each grape creating its signature concentrated and intense flavors. With the exception of the grapes being frozen when they’re harvested and pressed, the basics of the winemaking process are remarkably similar to those of any other wine.
What part of Canada does Icewine come from?
Icewine is made in several parts of Canada but arguably the best region for this unique wine is the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. The stretch of land between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that borders the US, the Niagara Peninsula is Canada’s largest viticultural region and is home to 84 wineries (including Jackson-Triggs). While it may be best known worldwide for its Icewine, the region also produces standard table wines that typically have more complexity and intense flavor than its counterparts from warmer climates. The Niagara Peninsula’s cool-climate proves to be ideal for Riesling, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, and Cabernet Franc, but the region produces over 32 different varietals across its 13,600 acres.
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