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VIDAL MEDIUM DRY/LATE HARVEST

This grape achieves its best I believe in sweeter wines. The bouquet of citrus and tropical fruits keeps the sultry,

comforting ripeness of banana and honey in balance. The relatively high acidity also moderates the otherwise very sweet taste of the wine.

RIESLING MEDIUM DRY/LATE HARVEST

Pine medium dry to sweet wines are made from the noble Riesling here just as they are in Germany. The fresh and refined acidity of Riesling keeps the wine well balanced in spite of its cosseting sweetness. There are very attractive floral aromas and also apple, peach, and honey with the sweeter Late Harvest, and the occasional mineral undertones. Drinking temperature is 46.4-53.6°F (8- 10°C).

ICE-WINE

Ice-wine is probably the best-known Canadian speciality. The best of these wines walk off with major prizes at the majority of the international exhibitions. Ice-wine can in principle be made from any type of grape including red varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pranc, but with a few exceptions the most interesting of them are produced from Vidal and Riesling. The method of making Icewines is the same as that for making German or Austrian Eiswein and French Vins de Glace from the south-west of France.

The grapes are allowed to hang until frozen by the frost. They are then quickly pressed and the tasteless frozen liquid remains behind with the seeds and skins, with only the honey sweet juices emerging from the press.

These juices are so concentrated that the yeast cells which can normally live up to a level of alcohol of 15% are finished by 8 or 9%. Ice-wines are very complex, powerful, extremely aromatic wines with notes such as apricot, peach, sweet melon, and honey with Vidal grapes and tropical flowers, apricot, citrus fruit, toffee, and vegetal nuances with Riesling. To gain double the pleasure serve it cold at 46.4-53.6°F (8- 10°C) but then allow it to warm up slowly.

ROSE

Most Canadian roses are very lightly structured and not terribly interesting. They are certainly fruity but despite good acidity and reasonable complexity most are knocked back like soft drinks. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (1O-12°C).

BACO NOIR

This is an extremely surprising French-Canadian hybrid which produces quite exciting results in Canada with full-bodied wines with lots of juice and taste that are very scented with suggestions of blackcurrant, blueberries, tobacco, and animal undertones. Some top Baco Noirs slightly resemble better Rhone Syrah wines. Drinking temperature is 60.8-62.6°F (16-17°C).

PINOT NOIR

The typical bouquet is of woodland fruits, cherry, and a hint of wild strawberry which when older become more rustic notes of leather, animal, and humus. Drinking temperature is 57,2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).

CABERNET

Bear in mind that many Canadian Cabernet wines are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Pranc but may also contain Merlot. These are generally well-made wines but the best of them are simply fantastic. They have constantly caused great surprise in blind tastings with their power, complexity, seductive fruitiness, and elegant tannin. Drinking temperature is 60.8-62.6°F (16-17°C).

Other wines

The best wine houses also make excellent Sauvignon Blancs, Aligotes, Gamay Blancs and Rouges. These wines are not very abundant though.

Recommended wines

The following wines from the best Canadian wineries are well worth trying.

- Ontario: Chateau des Charmes, Hildebrand Estates Winery, Inniskillin, Marijnissen Estates, Reif Estate Winery (all Niagara-on-the-Lake); D'Angelo (Amherstburg); Henry of Pelham (St. Catharines); Stoney Ridge Cellars (Winona); Lakeview Cellars (Vineland); Cave Spring Cellars (Jordan); Colio Estate (Harrow); and Pelee Island Winery (Kingsville) .

- British Columbia: Calona Vineyards, Quails' Gate, Summerhill, Mission Hill, Cedar Creek, St. Humbertus (all Kelowna); Hawthorne Mountains, Inniskillin Okanoga, Jackson Triggs, Peller Estate (Okanoga); Domaine Combret, Tinhorn Creek (Oliver); and Langley's Estate Winery (Langley).

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