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  • Monday, July 24, 2017

Niagara Icewine Festival Review 2017 - Day 2 of 2

Legends Estates Terroir Semillon with Creamy Canadian Lobster Bisque
On , I visited Niagara for the second weekend in a row to partake in Icewine and food pairings during the Niagara Icewine Festival. All of the wineries visited on this day were located in Twenty Valley. You can read all about my visit to Niagara Wine Country from the here.

The first stop on this day was at Legends Estates Winery for a delicious Creamy Canadian Lobster Bisque that was paired with a choice of their 2013 Legends Estates Terroir Semillon ($13.25, 87 pts, #400366) or 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve ($18.95, 89 pts). I opted for the Semillon based on a recommendation at the winery, as well as the fact that I tasted (and very much enjoyed) their Chardonnay the last time I visited Legends Estates. The Semillon was mostly tropical and citrus in nature with just a hint of savoury characters, but turned very savoury and smoky, in a pleasant way, when paired with the thick and savoury Bisque. Moreover, the fresh acidity in the wine helped balance the creamy texture of the soup. Overall, this was a very intriguing pairing with the wine changing immensely when paired with the Lobster Bisque.

At Vieni Estates, which was our second stop of the day, we had the option of a "The Terrific Two" Layered Flakie Custard Pastry paired with the 2011 Vieni Vidal Icewine ($39.95, 375 mL, 89 pts) or a Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti paired with 2014 Vidal Sparkling Icewine. Since I was there with my wife, we got one of each food item and I opted for the Vidal Icewine while my wife got the non-alcoholic red berry fruit juice. Surprisingly, the Icewine paired quite well with the Biscotti, bringing out the nutty notes in the nicely maturing Icewine. Very few producers make Sparkling Icewine, so I tasted it at the end and was quite pleased with the quality of the sparkling dessert wine - a wine review is provided below.

Vieni Vidal Icewine with Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti and Layered Flakie Custard PastryRockway Vidal Icewine with Salted Caramel Peanut Brittle

Picard's Salted Caramel Peanut BrittleThe third stop of the day was Rockway Vineyards, where we enjoyed a very decadent Salted Caramel Peanut Brittle created by Chef Stefan Olk, and paired with their 2013 Rockway Vidal Icewine. This indulgence was for those with a sweet tooth. On its own, the Brittle was intensely sweet, while the salt and peanuts added some much needed nuance to balance out the sweetness. The wine was also very sweet and paired very well with the Brittle as the sweetness levels from both the wine and Brittle were evenly matched, while the Brittle also brought out some very nice caramel notes in the wine. Enjoyable pairing for sure, but you must have a sweet tooth as a prerequisite.

Our final stop of the afternoon was at Hernder Estate Wines, where I always seem to have an unusual experience - and this time was no different. I won't go into any details as things were rectified quickly, and some of the wines I tasted were top-notch. The pairing here was a Vanilla Bean Cake Pop engulfed in a robe of Dark Chocolate and topped with Gold Leaf Sprinkles, and paired with their 2013 Hernder Cabernet Franc Icewine ($50.05, 375 mL, 89 pts). The Cake Pop was fresh and juicy and had just the right amount of sweetness to balance the sweet cherry, strawberry jam flavours in the wine. Berries and chocolate always make for a delightful pairing.

Hernder Cabernet Franc Icewine with Vanilla Bean Cake Pop

This concludes my report from my visit to Niagara during the annual Icewine Festival. Wine reviews of my favourite wines tasted on this day are provided below. If you're interested in purchasing any of these wines, please contact the winery as none of these wines are available at he LCBO.

Tasting Notes:

LEGENDS ESTATES RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 - Lizak Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $16.95
Ripe stone and orchard fruit aromas of very good intensity that continue on the palate, joined by grapefruit flavours. Still on the dry side, and balanced with fresh acidity on a medium-bodied frame. Finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Legends Estates Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (88 pts)Legends Estates Reserve Shiraz 2012 (89 pts)

LEGENDS ESTATES RESERVE SHIRAZ 2012 - Lizak Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23.95
The nose is highly aromatic with meaty, savoury notes, along with touches of sour cherry. It's full-bodied with smooth, velvety tannins and more meaty/savoury flavours. Very good finish length. It has mouth-watering acids and some structure for ageing, but this is quite enjoyable now. Score: 89 pts

LEGENDS ESTATES VIDAL ICEWINE 2006 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $49.90
Highly aromatic and very appealing with aromas of peach, apricot, honeysuckle and some sweet vanilla notes. On the palate, it's medium-full bodied and thick, but well-balanced by vibrant acids. Lovely mature burnt sugar and caramel flavours lead the way on the palate, followed by peach, pineapple, and apricot. Excellent finish length. Enjoy now or hold a few years. Score: 91 pts

Legends Estates Vidal Icewine 2006 (91 pts)

VIENI CABERNET FRANC PRIVATE RESERVE 2012 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95
Medium-high aromas that are herbaceous in nature, followed by spice and toasty oak (from 18 months in oak) and ripe red & black fruits. It's full-bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays and has a slightly chalky mouthfeel from the medium-firm tannins. Acids are very good and finishes long. Score: 89 pts

Vieni Cabernet Franc Private Reserve 2012 (89 pts)Vieni Pinot Noir Private Reserve 2012 (89+ pts)

VIENI PINOT NOIR PRIVATE RESERVE 2012 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Medium+ intensity nose offers a lot of dark fruit notes - berry, cherry and plum - along with earth and sweet spice notes. It's medium-bodied with earthy, beetroot, black cherry and savoury flavours framed by good acidity. There's some structure to the tannins. Finishes long. Score: 89+ pts

VIENI SPARKLING VIDAL ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $49.95
Rare to find, this has medium+ intensity aromas consisting of apple, green mango, tropical fruits, and pineapple with some tartness. It is sweet on the full-ish palate, with very nice aroma replays and hints of honey. Nice bubbles, juicy, and finishing long. Score: 89+ pts

Vieni Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2014 (89+ pts)

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#498790) (XD) - $19.95
The nose is slightly candied with red cherry, strawberry, beetroot and earth aromas of medium+ intensity. It's light-to-medium bodied with slightly dusty and young tannins. The palate is dry with with nice red fruit, black cherry and black plum flavours, and very subtle oak nuances. Acids are very good and the finish is long and juicy. Coming to VINTAGES on August 8th. Score: 88 pts

Rockway Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 (88 pts)

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS VIDAL ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $34.95
Medium-high aromatics offers lemon, pineapple, and a touch of tart citrus notes. The medium+ body is luscious with balanced acids and very nice aroma replays along with hints of caramel flavours. Long finishing. Score: 90 pts

Rockway Vineyards Vidal Icewine 2013 (90 pts)Rockway Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2013 (91 pts)

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS RIESLING ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $29.95
Highly aromatic on the nose, showing lovely mineral, petrol and honeysuckle notes. The palate is sweet, but is balanced by bracing acidity. The aromas come through on the palate and are joined by lemon citrus, orange, apricot and tropical fruit flavours. Excellent finish length. Delicious! Score: 91 pts

HERNDER RIESLING RESERVE 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $12.95
Maturing well, this has a medium-high intensity nose that's essentially dry with mineral-driven aromas of petrol, slate and lime. The palate is more of the same with lemon/lime and mineral with just a kiss of sweetness. Delicate acids provide freshness and the finish length is medium-long. Very good value! Score: 88

Hernder Riesling Reserve 2010 (88 pts)

HERNDER DEEP ROOTS CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
This refined, elegant wine has medium-high intensity aromas of dark berry, dark fruit, oak, leafy, along with touches of green, herbaceous notes. The palate is medium-full bodied with nicely extracted fruit offering complex aroma replays and supple tannins that are still a bit tight. It has very good acidity and excellent finish length. Age this another 2 years and drink over the 5-7 years. Score: 91 pts

Hernder Deep Roots Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012 (91 pts)Hernder Deep Roots Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2012 (91 pts)

HERNDER DEEP ROOTS CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $44.95
The nose seems a bit shy and offers white pepper, cassis, black currant, and evergreen aromas of medium-high intensity. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with flavours of evergreen, currant, and cassis, accented by oak elements. It has smooth, refined tannins that are supported by mouth-watering acids. Long finishing. A powerful Niagara Cab with years of enjoyment ahead. Score: 91 pts


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