2017 Inniskillin Ice Wine Vidal 375 ml

Year: 2017
Appellation: Niagara Peninsula
Country: Canada
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 93
James Suckling: 92
Wine Enthusiast: 94
Dessert Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 9.5%
Price :
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"Intense yet lively, with apple pie, almond, vanilla and butter flavors permeating the creamy texture, balanced by vivid acidity that drives the extended finish. Drink now through 2028. 2,100 cases made, 550 cases imported. -BS" (WS)

"The 2017 Vidal Icewine comes in with 255 grams of residual sugar, 9.79 of total acidity and a pH of 3.55. Unctuous and rather syrupy, this is a sugar rush from the first moment. The flavors and aromatics, though, are classic. The wine itself is delicious. It is fun to just smell. This is super, a hedonistic and sexy wine with a big, flavorful finish. The juicy finish dribbles sugar and fruit all over the palate. The next day, this seemed to be in better balance and fresher but also a touch thinner. It is nuanced with some tasty pineapples. This lacks the density of the Gold Vidal this issue, but it is spicier and livelier.

These have, I'm told, multiple bottlings. This one has a very faint bottling date stamped on the bottle (not the label). This stamp, below the label, near the bottom of the bottle, says in tiny print (hold it up to the light-in a darker bottle, this is the hardest one to read) "2018071217," indicating that it was bottled on December 17, 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)

"This is very dense and very sweet with lots of sliced-lemon, apple and honey character. Full-bodied and very sweet. Flavorful aftertaste. Drink now." (JS)

"Intensely aromatic, this wine brings concentrated flavors of peach syrup, apricot jam and candied pineapple. Lush and tongue-coating, the sweetness (250 g/L residual sugar) is adequately offset with acidity, and as it rolls down the throat brings added layers of maple syrup, butterscotch and butter brickle. -Paul Gregutt" (WE)

Winery Notes:
Vidal is a hybrid (Ugni Blanc and Seibel) that has a thick skin suitable for harvesting late in the season. It is the grape grown most for Icewine in Ontario. It’s good natural acidity gives great structure to the lusciousness of its tropical aromas and flavors of mango and lychee. Inniskillin Vidal Icewine is made in two distinct styles-without oak aging for fresh fruit emphasis and with oak aging for added complexity.