TNs:The Trifecta of Sweet Wines -- Botrytis, Cryoextraction, Fortification


I stopped by the Summerhill LCBO tasting bar today and they switched out all their wines and unusually had 3 sweet wines for me to try. Usually, they only have two. Even better, each one was from the main trifecta of sweet wine methods – fortification, botrytis affectation and cryoextraction.

iNNISKILLIN 2013 BOTRYTIS-AFFECTED VIOGNIER – The only other botrytis-affected Viognier I’ve ever seen and had is made by Yalumba from Australia and that’s an absolutely stunning little sweetie. So how’s this cool climate version compare?

Light bodied, very fresh fruit flavors of mango, honeydew, and lemon drop with a lovely lemon-lime acidity and a very slight touch of botrytis glycerin. I have to say that the Yalumba versions I’ve had are much richer with a lot more botrytis glycerin but that is likely due to the hotter climate down there resulting in riper fruit and a lot more botrytis.

This one also has less botrytis than than the 1999 Henry of Pelham Botrytis-Affected Riesling I had at New Year’s, which makes me believe this will not be as long-lived as that wine but it will still be great during the next 5 years or so. RECOMMENDED
FEATHERSTONE 2011 LATE HARVEST CABERNET FRANC – Here in Ontario, late harvested wines go through mild cryoextraction as they always make it past the first frost of the season as they hang out on the vines. As a result, they are a lot more concentrated than most other late harvest wines and even some icewines made in other countries. In fact, our late harvest wines have as much residual sugar as standard icewines made in Germany and Austria. (~100-130 g rs/L).

The Featherstone Late Harvest Cab Franc has a translucent light pink color similar to that of a standard dry Rosé wine, indicating some light skin contact. Light-bodied, with aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries. Sweet but not overly so, with nice lemony acidity to lift in the finish and a rather nice shot of tannins at the end to remind you this sweetie came from Cabernet Franc.

Overall, an enjoyable and straightforward sweet wine. Not as complex or luscious as a Cab Franc icewine, but it’s also half the price and a decent QPR. I do not believe this will age long so drink relatively soon. RECOMMENDED

DALVA 20 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT – I have never heard of this particular producer before but since I love 20 year old Tawny Port, I immediately tried this and boy am I glad I did.

This Tawny is full-bodied, with complex aromas and tastes of dried cherries, fresh plums, seville oranges, nutmeg, burnt sugar toffee, almond butter, and caramel. Constantly shifting between the very strong dried fruit flavor and the caramel and nut flavors. Heat is well-integrated and there’s a lovely red stone fruit acidity to this as well. Unbelievably complex 20 YO Tawny at a very good QPR price below $50 CDN. Great wine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED