We drove up to pretty olde worlde (read - highly expensive tourist trap) Niagara On The Lake yesterday, had a look around the town and then went to visit the Inniskillin Vineyard creators of some of the finest icewine in the world.
The grapes here are the Vidal variety, when winter hits this area hard and the grapes freeze on the vine they will be ready for picking. Picking is done by hand, in the cold small hours of the morning, the natural freezing process removes much of the water from the grapes and leaves behind a naturally sweet residue which is made into icewine.
Mostly, ice wines do not have have Bortrytis, or noble rot, the benign fungal infection used to create sweet wines in Europe, the weather here gets too cold too rapidly for the fungus to take hold.
Ice wine as awesome stuff, we did a tasting flight of four icewines, Riesling, Vidal, Oak Aged Vidal and a sparkling Vidal. The Riesling was quite stunning with sweetness and balanced acidity, I loved the sparkling ice wine but Meg didn't think the sweet flavour went well with the soft sparkle. Wonderful stuff, if you ever get chance to sample some make sure you don't miss out.