Vidal Icewine 2007 – Peller Estates (Ontario, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B+]

TL:DR – “Intense grape-raisin with some pineapple-mango nuances. Great stuff.”

Vidal Icewine Private Reserve 2007 – Peller Estates, 11.5% ABV – 200 ml., (Niagaro-on-the-lake, Ontario, Canada)

on the back label:

“This rare wine is made from frozen Vidal grapes hand picked at night below -10C in the middle of Canada’s cold winter. One drop of nectar is pressed from each grape to produce this luscious highly aromatic wine. Intense flavours of tropical fruit, peaches and honey are followed by a refreshing lingering finish…”

  • Style: (Vidal) Icewine
  • Taste: Fruit grape-raisin soft tropical liquid sweet
  • Where I got it : Superstore / Edmonton
  • How much: $18.29 – 200 ml., sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: clean complex enjoyable flavour

Visual: (cellared for 11 years). Pours copper brownish orange, clear as water.

Nose: raisin, honey, fig/date (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: thicker viscosity

Mid-palate: sugar and alcohol bite, jammy raisin, dissipating (lvl-8-sweetness), mango

Finish: concord grape, sticky raisin, pineapple

Summary: Absolutely delightful. Complex grape flavour accompanied by a the advertised tropical backend. The sugars are intense but scatter quickly enough for the fruitiness to kick in.

Full Moon Kerner Icewine 2005 – Sonoran Estate Winery (Summerland, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B-]

Full Moon Kerner Icewine 2005 – Sonoran Estate Winery, 13.6% ABV, 200 ml., (Summerland, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine*)

on the back label:

“The grapes for this delicious Ice Wine were harvested in Eric VonKrosigk’s vineyard by the light of a full moon. Rich honey, peaches and apricot aromas blaanced with flavours of lychee and pear. Hints of fresh mandarin oranges and citrus linger on the finish…”

  • Style: (Kerner) Icewine
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Liquor Depot / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $35, sometime in 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados:

Visual: (cellared for 12 years, 2005 bottle). Composite cork with hard wax top, still intact. Pours

Nose: tangy syrupy grape-plum, hints of toffee. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: slight thicker

Mid-palate: sweet crisp-tangy acidity, (lvl-7-sweetness), apricot, lychee, honey, peach, subdued alcohol

Finish: subtle throat warmth, red apple exhale, lingering apricot notes,

Summary: Quite juicy and complex flavourful, well done for a 13.6%. Wishing for more length in the mids and more flavour on the side palates. I like this more than their 13 Moons Oraniensteiner [C+].

13 Moons Oraniensteiner Icewine 2006 – Sonoran Estate Winery (Summerland, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [C+]

13 Moons Oraniensteiner Icewine 2006 – Sonoran Estate Winery, 11.5% ABV, 200 ml., (Summerland, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine*)

on the back label:

“Named after a castle in Germany, the Oraniensteiner varietal is the little-known love-child of Riesling and Sylvaner: parents of more familiar breeds such as Ehrenfelser and Kerner. Developed during the 1960’s at the famous Geisenheim Grapebreeding Institute in Germany, Oraniensteiner is celebrated by wine lovers for its vivid citrus flavours and bracing acidity: a perfect profile to balance the inherent sweetness of dessert wines. Extremely rare in Canada, the most significant plantings are at the meticulous 20+ year old Naramata vineyards belonging to Dan and Wolfgang Zellers, without whom Oraniensteiner may have become an obscure footnote in viticulture history.

Enjoy this delicious & long-lived icewine with cheeses, dark chocolate, or as a mouth-watering aperitif.”


  • Style: (Oranienstiener) Icewine
  • Taste: Rounded rich tangy red grape juice-plum wine crisp warmth
  • Where I got it : Liquor Depot / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $35, sometime in 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: good but not great

Visual: (cellared for 10 years). Composite cork, still intact. Pours deep dark amber, crystal clear, thicker viscosity.

Nose: tangy syrupy grape-plum, hints of toffee. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thicker, juicy sweet

Mid-palate: controlled (lvl-8-sweetness), rich tangy red grape juice, plum wine, crisp acidity, rounded flavour

Finish: gentle throat warmth, residual tangy fruity sugars

Summary: I visited the winery back in 2009 and was impressed by the ‘honey-like’ and drinkable their Icewines were. Fast forward 7 years and 1000+ tastings experience, I’d say this Icewine is still decent but not terribly complex as a dessert wine.

Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: FAIL

Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010 – Isabella Winery, 9.6% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

-having already tried their Pinot Noir, 3-in-1, Zweigelt, Merlot Pinot Noir icewines, I pretty much already knew this one is going to be a dud. It’s for educational purposes I say.

on the back label:

“The aroma of Cabernet Franc comes forth along with simmering red berry fruit. An initial burst of sweetness, then strawberry jam flavours. Pairs nicely with your favourite’s: Chocolate Cake, Crème Brule, or Apple Pie and a wedge of Sharp Cheddar Cheese.”


  • Style: (Cabernet Franc) Icewine
  • Taste: Syrupy Ribena cassis sweet cloying
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $89 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: don’t bother

Visual: Cellared for 5 years, cork still intact. Pours orangish-maple, crystal clear.

Nose: tangy blackberry-cassis, mild alcohol detection (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: thick-syrupy viscosity, incoming sugars

Mid-palate: dense (lvl-10)-sweetness, medium tangy, (MAIN) cassis, red table grape

Finish: Ribena-like concentrated syrupy sweetness, alcoholic bitter, alcoholic throat warmth, sugar rush, tangy finish.

Summary: Two words: Rip Off. Extremely overpriced for a garbage product. IMO this stuff is aimed at the unenlightened Chinese tourist looking for a pricey “Icewine” gift to bring home. If you want a decent red icewine try Volcanic Hill’s instead. The second glass in, reaction: “Why am I drinking this? It’s like drinking Ribena mixed with a teaspoon of Vodka – Incoming sugar headeache – too f*cking sweet.”

Pentâge Icewine – Pentage Winery (Penticton, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: B+

Pentâge, Blended Icewine 2010 – Pentâge Winery, 8% ABV – 200ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

  • it takes roughly 3kg of grapes to make one 375ml bottle of icewine, depending on the grape. (google search)

from their website:

“…Bright gold in color, with intense aromas of candied apricot and honey on the nose. The palate delivers a luscious melody of candied fruits with a smidgen of honey and fig. Barrel fermented giving this wine a rich creamy mouth feel.  Perfectly balanced with vibrant acidity, this wine gets better with every sip as it lingers endlessly on your palate.”

  • Style: (Viognier, Semillon, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay) Icewine
  • Taste: Clean dense-sugared apricot sour green apple
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines, Granville Island
  • How much: $33 (after $1 off), only $23 online! – 200ml., May 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: what for?

Visual: Thin skinny 200ml bottle, real cork w/ waxed top, simple and classy label. Pours deep striking golden yellow.

Nose: pineapple, passion fruit, hints of lychee. Very fruit forward. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: incoming syrupy dense sugars, (lvl-8)-sweetness

Mid-palate: clean transition from sugars, light alcohol detection, (MAIN) white raisin, apricot, sour green apple

Finish: very light throat warmth, white grape fruity exhale.

Summary: Lots of brightness in this one, very approachable. The sugars become slightly cloying in the midpalate as it warms. A very nice offering and certainly levels above the Isabella icewines I’ve been having.

Pinot Noir Special Reserve Icewine – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: D+

Pinot Noir Special Reserve 2004 – Isabella Winery, 12% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

(it’s over 10 years old, but is it any good…?)

on the back label:

“Exceptionally exquisite this red icewine, with amber hues, delivers intense flavours of strawberries, dried apricots and honey. Rich in texture, it is best served chilled, on its own or with vanilla ice cream.”


  • Style: (Pinor Noir) Icewine
  • Taste: unelegant sugary strawberry/grape alcoholic
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $60 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: what for?

Visual: Cork broke in half upon opening, solidified sugars at the mouth of the bottle. Pours reddish-orange-purple.

Nose: sweet red grape juice, faint alcohol detection,  (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: very dense sugars, tangy, medium sour-acidity

Mid-palate: (lvl-9)-sweetness, bitter alcohol, lingering acidity, (MAIN) strawberry, concentrated red grape juice

Finish: cloying sugars, mild heat, sickly sweet finish.

Summary: Like the majority of their previous offerings, this one isn’t at all good either. No sensational textures or flavours, just sugary strawberry-grape with a whole lot of roughness throughout. Avoid. If this is their special reserve how bad is their regular batch?

The Little Beaver 3-in-1 Icewine – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: D

3-in-one (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) 2011 – The Little Beaver (Isabella Winery), 11% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“This Ice wine is a blend of the noble grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It has aromas of raspberries, ripe strawberries, creme de cassis and red cherries. On the palate it is a decadent and focused, with flavours of strawberry jam, cherry tart, cassis grastrique [sic] and blueberries. The finish is ultra rich and long. Enjoy this Ice Wine with, Black Forrest Cake, chocolate or cherries Jubilee.”


  • Style: (Blended) Icewine
  • Taste: Sugary cloying tingly cassis raspberry
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $70 (WAY overpriced) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: refund immediately

Visual: 3-in-1… seems like they weren’t good enough individually or they didn’t want to waste the leftovers. Pours light cola brown with a few tiny bubbles.

Nose: sweet cassis, blackberry, raspberry. Very fruity. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: dense fruity sugars

Mid-palate: almost carbonated, tangy acidic, (lvl-10)-cloying sweetness, (MAIN) cassis, raspberry, strawberry, red grape

Finish: continued cloying, watery mouthfeel, berry fruity finish.

Summary: This one exhibits a total lack of balance and composure. Way too much sugar without any warmth, silky texture, or depth. Flavours are decent but the overall impression is a mess.

Dr. Zenzen Dornfelder Rosé Icewine (Germany)


  • My Rating: B

Dornfelder Rosé Icewine 2007 – Silver Sage Winery, 11% ABV – 375ml, (Germany)

on the back label:

“Dornfelder Rosé Ice Wine (or in German, Eiswein) is a type of dessert wine produced from Dornfelder Red wine grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. This gives ice wine its characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity.”


  • Style: (Dornfelder Rosé) Icewine
  • Taste: Dense red grape-raisin jammy sweetness
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (?)
  • How much: ~$30 – 375ml., sometime in 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear dark reddish-brown, no sediment.

Nose: sweet grapey-raisins, clean & precise flavour (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: dense fruity sugars w/ tang

Mid-palate: (lvl-9) fruity sweetness, tangy, mild alcohol detection, (MAIN) red grape, jammy raisin, fig

Finish: residual tangy acidity, light cloying, clean sweet finish.

Summary: Extremely approachable with good body, depth, and a sweet-fruity-acidic balance.

Merlot Icewine – Lang Vineyards (Naramata, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C+

Merlot Icewine 2000 (!)– Lang Vineyards, 10.0% ABV – 200ml., (Naramata, BC, Canada)

  • Silver – 2003 All Canadian Wine Championships
  • Bronze – 2002 Canadian Wine Awards
  • Gold – 2001 All Canadian Wine Championships
  • Gold – 2001 Indiana State Fair Wine Competition
  • Silver – 2001 International Eastern Wine Competition

My Notes:

  • Style: (Merlot) Icewine
  • Taste: Raspberry-plum liqueur with natural sweetness
  • Where I got it: Liquor Depot @Cambie
  • How much: $61 (5% off) – 200ml. ($229/750ml btl), January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no, clearly overpriced

Visual: 2000!! also the winner of numerous accolades. This has got to blow my mind, right?? Unique red corked bottle with a red wax seal on top. Pours XO Brandy-coloured orange, ultra-clear.

Nose: Raspberry, light raisin, plum, hints of strawberry, very clean aromas (7/10-pungency)

Attack: dense fruity sweetness, fruity sugars

Mid-palate: (9/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) raspberry jam, plum wine, red raisin, red apple

Finish: crisp acidity, clean mild alcohol warmth, tangy sweet fruity finish.

Summary: This drinks like a refined liqueur, but not much more. The sweetness is controlled, body is decent, but lacks complexity and wow factor. Mind blow it didn’t. Also, 14 years cellaring didn’t do anything for this bottle, but I hardly expected it to. I paid $61 for my 200ml bottle. Here’s one asking for $250,000. Rule of Icewines: expensive ≠ more delicious.

Merlot Pinot Noir Icewine – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C

Merlot Pinot Noir Icewine 2010– Isabella Winery, 13% ABV – 375ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A beautiful blend of Pinot Noir and Merlot. The palate is just as pleasing with plush plum notes, a whiff of spice and the characteristic hint of violet. Good body, lower tannin and a warm finish all make this Merlot and Pinot Noir melt in your mouth sensation. Pairs nicely with: prime rib, new york striploin, stuffed portabello mushroom and cheese.” (personally, I wouldn’t drink icewine with a main course…)


  • Style: (Merlot + Pinot Noir blend) Icewine
  • Taste: Sugary straw-cranberry alcoholic juice
  • Where I got it: @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $89 (overpaid, the quality is only worth $40 tops) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no, better red icewines out there

Visual: Why did I pay $89 for an icewine whilst most go for $35-$60, and on top of that, a blend?!? Plus I already knew this winery was catering to the “give icewine as gifts” clientele, aka: it’s expensive so it must be good… Anyways, why not, you only live once. It pours auburn (red-orange), ultra-clear, somewhat watery.

Nose: strawberry, minor plum, light-med alcohol detection (7/10-pungency)

Attack: dense fruit sugars, watery-ish mouthfeel

Mid-palate: dense (10/10)-sweetness + bitter-warm alcohol, (MAIN) plum, strawberry, cranberry

Finish: alcoholic warmth + bitterness, tart-roughish mouthfeel, somewhat flat finish (no carry).

Summary: Definitely not worth $89, considering that I could have gotten a bottle of almost anything more complex in flavour than this for that price. Just a standard, or sub-standard if you factor in the price, icewine that consists of fruity flavour and a ton of sweetness. This one lacks depth and fullness to be anything special. Try it if you have absolutely NOTHING left to try…