Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Wine Blogging Wednesday #27: 2004 Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine Proprietors' Reserve
Kitchen Chick set icewines as the theme for this month's wine blogging Wednesday, and it's a perfect time of year to get to know these special dessert wines. Long autumn and winter evenings are just right for sipping your way through one of these beauties.
I've only ever had one ice wine before, the Sineann Sweet Sydney Zinfandel icewine, which is not entirely characteristic of the type, most of which are made from white varietals. So Kitchen Chick's brief gave me a chance to go out and try to find a budget-friendly ice wine that is readily available. The one I settled on was the 2004 Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine Proprietors' Reserve ($21.99/187 ml, Beverages and More) from Ontario. Just a smidge over my usual $20 ceiling, but I am so glad I parted with that $1.99. A little internet research proves that it's widely available online, and at an even better price, so it's worth checking your local merchant.
Icewines are made under strictly controlled conditions. In Canada, where the Jackson-Triggs wine is produced, grapes must be picked by hand after temperatures reach a hard frost of at least 17 degrees F. The rock-hard grapes are crushed while still frozen, producing wines with both sweetness and a balancing acidity. Typically ice wines are made with riesling or vidal blanc grapes, although winemakers are now experimenting with cabernets and zinfandels. The lesser known vidal blanc grapes should be bracing and balanced, with citrus and floral notes. If you are interested in icewines, and are a reader of Bon Appetit, you can look forward to Natalie MacLean's article on the subject in the December 2006 issue.
I was really taken with this wine, from the moment I popped the cork until the last drops were gone. The 2004 Jackson-Triggs Vidal Proprietors' Reserve was a beautiful, deep golden color. It has a silky, syrupy texture. The aromas are a little bit of heaven: honeysuckle, peaches, nectarines, and pineapple. I detected a slightly metallic smell at first, but this quickly dissipated. This wine was just as interesting and lively on the palate as it was in its aromas, with lemon peel, apple, brown sugar, and tropical fruits. It was sweet, yet refreshing and crisp, too. I drank it on its own, and it really did qualify as a dessert in a glass--not so much a wine to have with food, perhaps, as a wine to have instead of food. I can imagine a gleaming tray of icewine being served at a festive dinner in lieu of dessert.
There is no doubt that an icewine is sweet--but a well made icewine like this one is held in balance with an equally impressive acidity. It was hard to stop after just one glass of this, whereas with most dessert wines one glass is all it takes for me. Some icewines cost more than $100 for a bottle, and at $21.99 the strong varietal characteristics of this Jackson-Triggs icewine lead me to say this is a wine with excellent QPR. Thanks to Kitchen Chick for suggesting such a great topic for WBW #27.