2017 Inniskillin Ice Wine Cabernet Franc 375 ml

Year: 2017
Appellation: Niagara Peninsula
Country: Canada
Wine Advocate: 91
James Suckling: 92
Dessert Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 9.5%
Price :
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"The 2017 Cabernet Franc Icewine comes in with 244 grams of residual sugar, 9.15 of total acidity and a pH of 3.27. The price references a half bottle. I don't think this is the best of the group, but it certainly is the most distinctive. The grape gives it some extra weight and a certain earthiness. You can certainly identify this by its Cab Franc character, which manages to shine through—you can taste herbs cutting the sugar, which certainly makes this a lot different than the white dessert wines offered this issue. As eccentric as it originally seemed, some air partly changed that. The next day, it pulled in some of the herbs and seemed a bit more mainstream. Still, it was always a little different, a long way from the more classic white stickies submitted this issue. It also seemed a little less focused and a bit syrupy at that point.

These have, I'm told, multiple bottlings. This has a very faint bottling date stamped on the bottle (not the label). This production stamp, below the label and near the bottom of the bottle, says in tiny print (hold it up to the light, wipe off the condensation, if any) "20180514 17," indicating that it was bottled on May 14, 2018.

Wines in this style often age extremely well, so take the end-date drinking windows as just a placeholder. They may do better. However, as they get further out, they will change. Gentle oxidation gives them more character and takes away some of that unctuous, fruit-forward texture. Personally, I tend to like them with some age. But they are hard to resist now. These are not, of course, for the shy. They are full-on very sweet dessert wines.

On another issue, these pricey dessert wines have multiple bottlings, I'm told. That's not usually an issue at this price level, but it raises some questions for consumers. To match what I am reviewing with what you are buying, I have included the bottling dates and information on where you can find it on the bottle for each brand. One problem, to be sure, is the winery doesn't really go out of its way to provide transparency. The bottling dates are very tiny and hard to find. They are actually just production stamps on the bottle, not the label. Then, there are additional issues as well. On the Gold Vidal, the production stamp was a bit garbled in printing and hard to read. On the Riesling, the date stamp suddenly changed to just "03 18" instead of the more detailed stamp the others had.

Overall, clarity and transparency would be vastly improved with a bottling date on the label. At these prices, that shouldn't be an issue." (WA)

"A sweet and stylish sweet wine with cherry and crabapple character. Full-bodied and medium sweet. A lively and energetic finish. Drink now." (JS)

Winery Notes:
The red berry characteristics of the vinifera grape Cabernet Franc translate as an Icewine into strawberry like aromas and flavours. This Icewine is completely different from the white Icewines. The colour comes from pressing only as there is no skin contact during fermentation. The earlier it is harvested, the darker the colour and the deeper the flavours.