Icewine – the ultimate waiting game… Luckily for us the 2016 harvest arrived nice and early on December 8th, offering us fruit that escaped wrestling with the ravages of winter.
A classically beautiful varietal for dessert wine, a handful of Riesling rows were set aside early in the season destined for our 2016 pick. Our winemaker selected a pocket of the vineyard known for its intensity of fruit and bright acidity.
With our first major cold snap on the horizon, our pickers were readied and the call was made in the middle of the night. Picking commenced in the early morning hours at a chilly -10 Celsius, kicking off at 4:00 AM, with the help of tractor lights and headlamps.
The fruit was in the press by 6:00 AM and shortly thereafter the first golden drops of nectar were falling into the juice tray.
The resulting wine offers aromas of roasted pineapple, fresh lime with baked apples and spice. The palate is beautifully balanced with opulent sweetness and a hallmark Tantalus fresh acidity. Flavours of orchard fruit are balanced by bright citrus and quince, offering the wine great tension, lift and of course, ageability.
The 2016 growing season started off quickly. Budbreak was record breaking and the ensuing Spring growth was rapid. Despite the early start to the season, cooling summer rains soon arrived and slowed growth down to a more normal pace.
Late summer and early fall turned warm and sunny once again, but with cooler than usual evenings the fruit was able to ripen evenly despite the warm daytime temperatures. The 2016 harvest kept us on our toes with a long, drawn out ripening phase and gave us one of the longest harvest windows to date.
With a series of warm growing seasons behind us, our dedication to thoughtfully promote a healthy, balanced vineyard is paramount. Organic nutrient additions and precise canopy and irrigation management all play a vital role. In addition, we continue to farm as sustainably as possible – without the use of herbicides or pesticides. Our honey bee apiary is thriving and we’re amazed at the diversity of resident species that can be found on our property – a true testament for us to the health of our site.