Most of the producers of the Canadian Wine Club Tasting (see previous post) had a sweet wine, if not several, to taste. Sweet wines, and particularly ice wines, have built up a reputation for the Canadian Wine industry, both at home and abroad. After all, no other country can produce these lusciously sweet wines every year. Thus, it is easy to understand that pioneer wineries Château des Charmes and Inniskillin only had sweet wines to taste, as these may be the only wines selling successfully and finding their way onto the UK market.
Château des Charmes showed a Riesling late harvest 2006 that is absolutely delicious. This is textbook Riesling and Riesling at its best, delicate yet tight and extremely youthful and vibrant, with a concentration and a level of acidity that will ensure its development over the next decade, or even more. At £11.70 the half bottle, it is the perfect hostess gift for a dinner party. It is bound to impress and I give it the highest score of any wine that evening, at 18.5/20. Château des Charmes' 1998 Paul Bosc Riesling Ice Wine (£35.00/half bte) is an eye-opener. It is believed that ice wine from Canada, unlike its rival from Germany, is best drunk in its youth because it has no capacity to age. This Riesling showed no sign of giving up, and will probably last for a good ten years. That said, there is a considerable difference between a Riesling and a Vidal ice wine, and Vidal, which is not as ageworthy as Riesling, probably has to assume most of the responsibility for this belief. Of the Vidal wines available, it was Inniskillin's Vidal Gold Ice Wine 2005 (£50.00/half bte) that showed the most compexity. For a review of 20 Bees' Late Harvest Vidal 2005, also included in the tasting, click here. For a review of the dry still wines of the Canadian Wine Club Tasting, click here.