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What's so special about icewine? The obvious is that it's a dessert wine. It's sweet. The uniqueness is that grapes are left on the vine well past the regular harvest. The temperature has to reach a minimum of minus 8 degrees celsius for a period of time (three consecutive days). The water in the grapes freeze (but the sugar does not) so the flavours become very concentrated. The frozen grapes are picked in the middle of the night by hand (that's rough for the workers I'd say). Each grape only contains only a few drops of juice so you need a lot more grapes to make a bottle of icewine compared to regular still wine. These are some of the reasons as to why icewine can be expensive. It's such a labour of love.
Some people find icewine to be too sweet. The trick is to leave it in your mouth longer than you normally would for regular wine. Sweetness is detected at the front of your tongue so by leaving the wine in your mouth longer, you'll begin to notice all sorts of flavours develop.
A great explanation of icewine and the process:
For more information on the icewine festival:
Our first stop of the day was the Legends Estate Winery. The snow was falling and looking out into the vineyard, it was a beautiful sight. We had a treat at this winery - an icewine slushy served in a martini glass. Now that's how I like to start my morning! We also tried some wines from the "Truth or Dare" series. The labels from this series were done by a tattoo artist and were really funky. I liked the white blend called "Truth".
Creekside Winery was next. I've always wanted to go to this winery but somehow never made it. The barrel room was really cool. We sampled a Vidal icewine paired with roasted chestnuts. The wine was so luscious. After the barrel room (which I didn't want to leave...ever) I stopped by the tasting room. I continued my quest for sweet goodness with a sample of their Riesling icewine. Yum! Below is a short video taken inside the barrel room at Creekside.
After Creekside we continued our journey to Flat Rock Cellars. The owner of the winery gave us such an enthusiastic tour. I was clinging on to his every word. He spoke with such passion and conviction. He explained his gravity flow winery and all the processes that are involved in the making of wine. We had the Sweet Revenge Vidal icewine which was surprisingly not as sweet as some other Vidals I've had before. It had some nice acidity to it. I later tried some still wines and the one I enjoyed the most out of the ones tasted was the Gravity Pinot Noir.
Flat Rock has a really cool program called "in the winemakers's boots". You can go during some key times of the year to get your hands dirty at the various stages of winemaking. I'm definitely going to check it out. On the way out, we had a chance to roast some homemade marshmellows in the outside fire pit. They were divine squishy squares. Sugar is so great...