On a cold winter’s night, I love wrapping myself in a blanket, turning on the TV, and enjoying a glass of ice wine. Ice wine really represents the wonders that winter can bring. It’s one of the only wines that come from frozen grapes, making Canada one of the best places in the world to produce ice wine. It really makes for a lovely dessert and a great substitute for ice cream (since I have too much of it).
Last year in May, I went on a Quail’s Gate Winery tour in Kelowna for part of my sister’s bachelorette party. During the wine tasting, I told the winery rep that I liked ice wine and she said “if you like ice wine, you’ll love this” then poured me a glass of the Quail’s Gate Optima Late Harvest. I was also able to compare it to the Quail’s Gate Riesling Icewine and let’s just say, I was convinced.
Both wines have a high sugar content and carry the richness and decadence a great dessert should have. But, the Optima Late Harvest brought a complexity of flavours to my palate that made it so delicious. It carried sweet notes of peach, honeysuckle, apricots, and oranges with slight sour notes of citrus. Not to mention, the smell was divine - bringing the sweetness of the wine to my nose, making me crave more. The winery rep explained to me the optima wine was aged in both stainless steel tanks and oak barrels, which really showed in the complex flavours of this wine. In addition, Optima Late Harvest has a lower amount of residual sugar than ice wine, 96.2g/L in comparison to 200g/L, so it’s an amazing dessert wine with less sugar. This wine is really great on its own or lovely when it’s paired with an apple or pear crumble. Pouring it on top of your dessert blends the flavours even better. (Check the Weekly Wine Fact at the end to learn about the grapes in the Optima Late Harvest.)
Since the Quail’s Gate Optima Late Harvest was a clear winner to me, I purchased 2 bottles to bring home. Plus, I always feel good when I’m supporting the local BC VQA wineries. Overall, the Optima Late Harvest comes at a great price - $34.99, but the availability of this product is limited, so check if your local liquor store carries it or purchase it online.
Let me know your thoughts on this wine in the comments below. Thanks for reading!