Are you too busy or unable to drive down to the wine country, but really want to taste variety of Icewines that Ontario is World renowned for? Then iYellow’s Ice Fest is the perfect occasion for you. Intended to bring people together and expose them to more than just Icewine, this year’s 2nd annual Ice Fest took place at the Galleria in the hip Liberty Village district of downtown Toronto. Participating wineries included Château des Charmes, Diamond Estates, Lakeview Cellars, Rief Estates, Inniskillin, Peller Estates, Small Talk (formerly Stonechurch) Vineyards, Sue-Ann Staff, Trius/Hillebrand Winery, Pillitiery and Rosewood Estates. The winery’s representatives (some being winemakers themselves) didn’t just serve Icewines – mead, sparking, whites and reds also flowed freely.
Icicle frosted glass of Hillebrand Cabernet Franc Icewine 2012.
The day was forecasted to be clear, sunny, yet frigidly cold with temperatures reaching -15°C that fortunately rose to anywhere between -8 to -10°C. Nonetheless, triple socks, long-johns and 5 layers of clothing were a must since this was an outdoor event. It was held at the Liberty Market Building Galleria – a roofed, cobblestone-paved passageway, through which runs a long-since-used rail track and that is lined with boutique shops and eateries. Its spacious layout, perfect for events of this magnitude, creates a welcoming atmosphere only uplifted by afternoon sun’s light ambiently shining through.
Mandy Schnurr sabering Peller Estates Ice Cuvée.
At the entryway, tickets were traded for a proof-of-payment bracelet, food ticket redeemable at any of the Galleria’s eateries and a welcoming glass of a beautiful Peller Estates Ice Cuvée that if requested, was sabered just for you. Walking to/from any of the 10 evenly spaced tables, filling the glass with heart’s desires, listening to music provided by Garrison Point and mingling with any of the 300 other guests; was the premise of the event and how some/most/all of the allocated five hours have been spent.
Icewines – truly Canadian wines.
As usual, I walked around taking pictures before moving onto Icewine sampling and reviewing. This time, though I made tasting notes for three-and-a-half of the featured wines, I felt that it was just too cold to accurately and objectively assess them and though very positive, my reviews would really not reflect their true features for their cold-muted aromas. Nonetheless, all the Icewines were of top quality.
I didn’t taste many other, non-sparkling/non-Icewine wines, for red wines were beyond palatable due to their temperature being more than 25°C below ideal; and though the whites still retained most of their character, their bouquets were muffled. I realized that Icewines are not solely named for how they are harvested, but for their ability to deliver enjoyment in sub-zero temperatures – feat truly suitable for Canada.
Click image to evoke gallery & navigate through pictures or view as slideshow.
Fed and filled with Niagara’s liquid gold never before savored in such variety and quantity, I left the event chilled yet energized and went about other endeavors planned for the day.
For other EVENTS in the wine country or in Toronto, please link here.
To Angela Aiello and Mandy Schnurr of iYellow – thank you for the great afternoon.