Page The Next Challenge

At 8:03 AM on January 2nd, a new era began at Lowrey Vineyards.  As the sun peeked over the escarpment we welcomed the dawn of our very own “Ice Age”.   After an evening of perfect freezing conditions (-12 degrees Celsius) it was decided to harvest five rows of Cabernet Sauvignon, our first foray into the world of Icewine.  A beautiful morning unfolded before us, with a light snow gently filtering the weak rays of winter sun.  It soon became clear that picking the fruit and braving the cold are the easy part, and actually quite enjoyable.

To understand the travails of pressing frozen grapes to yield minute amounts of juice, I want you to imagine trying to squeeze a tray of ice cubes in an effort to produce water.  It takes equal amounts of pressure and patience I assure you!  Too much of the former and not enough of the latter can lead to problems…big problems.  Less than a minute into the second press load I cranked up the pressure and was horrified to hear the sickening hiss of a slow leak in the press bladder.  Luckily we had a back-up bladder on hand, but the subsequent dismantling of the press load and bladder re-assembly really set us back.  In the end, patience prevailed and the luscious Cab juice began to flow.  It was thick, sweet and full of super-concentrated flavours of ripe strawberry and raspberry.

At this stage the plan is to make a traditional Icewine, but I could be persuaded to ferment it a little longer for those seeking more of a drier, “late harvest” style.  Initial feedback tells me that Icewine is often perceived as being “too sweet” for some palates (including mine at times), but I challenge those people to try Cabernet  Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc Icewine with dark chocolate or strong cheeses.  Simply delectable!

Dawn of the Ice Age

2 Responses to “The Next Challenge”

Barry

Looking forward to trying. I’m certain it will be amazing; the berry notes will balance any sweetness and make it all worth while.

Barry

D Shapiro

It’s the Vidal ice wines that are too sweet, mostly. I’ve had lovely Cab Franc ice wines from Strewn and other wineries, and a lovely Gewurz ice wine from Palatine Hills. Best of luck, and we’ll hope to have a taste when it’s ready.

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