May 24 weekend, the official start of summer for most Canadians and for me the start of winery touring season. So on a beautiful Friday afternoon, I headed to Inniskillin to do a little tasting. This was my first time visiting Inniskillin and was very excited to taste some wine from this influential and long standing Niagara winery.
Your experience at a winery is shaped by the tasting bar attendant and we were very lucky to have Jon as our tasting guide. He was friendly and knowledgeable, in a non pretentious way- my kind of wine guy. He may have been even friendlier after I mentioned that I write a wine blog, I may be on to something here...
I told Friendly Jon that I don't like Chardonnay. Jon, being a Chardonnay lover, asked me to keep an open mind and to try the 2007 Reserve Select Chardonnay. He laughed when I said it smelled like milk, but did admit that Chardonnay does have a high amount of lactic acid (point for me!) This Chardonnay was the best Chardonnay I have ever had, but I still didn't really like it. I didn't taste the butter, pineapple or baked apple pie that the experts do, but that doesn't mean that they weren't there.
Just as we were thinking about saying good bye to Jon he offered us a wine that he promised would have the "wow" factor. Intrigued, we watched Jon opened a skinny bottle and placed two icewine glasses in front of us.
For those of you reading this blog to gain tidbits of wine knowledge to impress, here is a great one for you. One of the co-founder of Inniskillin, Donald Ziraldo, convinced Riedel that they needed to make an icewine glass and after a few years of naggig it happened! I think it might be the prettiest wine glass out there (see above picture).
As he poured the amber coloured wine into our glass he explained that he doesn't open a 12 year old Riesling Icewine for just anyone. It smelled like caramel and burned wood and tasted like "wow". It lacked the super sweetness that I don't like about icewine and was so full of flavours that my taste buds were confused, in a good way. From caramel to apples to burnt sugar to honey. This was complicated goodness! When I got home and Googled this wine I found a bottle for $170! Well, at least I have the memory...
Thank you Inniskillin and Jon for a great afternoon!