The Sweet Spot: Peller Estates 2016 Oak Aged Ice Wine

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I love sweet wines of all kinds. The wine pictured above was my first oak aged ice wine and it came from Peller Estates in Canada. I tried it this past summer during the Society of Wine Educators conference which was held in Rochester, New York.  This wine is made from a grape I have grown to really love and find perfect for ice wine – Vidal. I first tasted Vidal during my trip to the Finger Lakes the day before the conference. I tried so many examples that I really liked and I wrote about them here.

Today’s wine though comes from Canada not New York State, specifically from Niagara-on-the-Lake. The winery uses naturally frozen Vidal grapes. They press the grapes when they are frozen. They then ferment at cool temperatures. They are aged in French and American oak barrels for four months. I didn’t find the oak overwhelming.

I liked the bouquet and palate on this particular wine. It had great tropical fruit notes and honey with some spice and a long finish. It had nice acidity which balanced the sweetness.

The current owner’s grandfather started the winery in 1927. He had moved from Hungary to Canada.  He had a dream of creating European style vineyards and choose the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia for his first winery.  He then started to look in the Eastern part of Canada and bought another winery in Ontario in 1969. That winery celebrates it’s 50th year in 2019. Today, the winery is run by the third generation of the family. Their winemaker is Katie Dickieson. It seems to be very much a destination winery with a restaurant, many wines and a wine club.

I have never visited Niagara-on-the-Lake or the Canadian side of Niagara Falls for that matter but this past November, while at the American Wine Society conference, I went back to see Niagara from the American side. The experience which I first had as an 11 year old on a trip from my Camp was amazing. I had memories of wearing yellow raincoats and going on the Maid of the Mist. In my memory we went behind the falls. The raincoats are now blue and the Maid of the Mist does not go behind the falls. It is truly a one of kind trip and one everyone should have at least once in their lives.

I have been getting really interested in visiting the Canadian wine regions. I hope to have the chance soon.  Part of my own family moved to Canada from Europe when they were looking for freedom from religious persecution and economic opportunity. I think I’m long overdue for a visit.

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