I have no idea where I got this wine. I found it in my refrigerator last night and declared it the “wine of the evening.” I suspect it came home with me from the 2008 Wine Bloggers Conference as a gift from my friend Lenn of the New York Cork Report.
Why do I suspect it came from Lenn? Because it came from the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. I’m really torn, here, between waxing on about the Finger Lakes region and telling you about the grape, so let me do just a little of both.
The Finger Lakes aren’t that far from here. Get in your car, drive 8 hours toward Canada, and veer off a little near Rochester. You’ll find yourself in the lovely and relaxing Finger Lakes region of New York. Kevin and I have been to Seneca Lake, as it’s an easy drive from Rochester. There are three lakes that look like fingers in an aerial shot, Seneca, Keuka, and Cayuga. Oneida is not an official Finger Lake but is often thought of as the thumb anyway.
There are countless wineries up there. Seneca Lake alone has over 35 wineries. In fact, this year’s wine blogger TasteCamp is being held in the Finger Lakes in May. We’re missing it due to various siblings graduating from college. (Some things are more important than wine, you know.) Seeing as how it’s an easy drive, I highly recommend you get in your car one Friday morning and take an impromptu long weekend on Seneca Lake.
2007 Ventosa Vineyards Tocaice Ice Wine, Seneca Lake / Finger Lakes, NY
The Tocaice is an ice wine made from the Tocai Friulano grape. Known as an Italian grape, it is commonly grown in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Recently, the EU ruled that the Italian wine must now be referred to as Friulano in order to prevent confusion with a similar Hungarian grape, known as Tokaji. For some reason, the fact the grape had to basically change its name has always made me sympathetic towards it.
It’s still predominantly grown in Italy but you can find a smattering of the grape in Argentina. I was rather surprised to pull this out of my ‘fridge last evening to see it was a Friulano from the Finger Lakes. Apparently Ventosa Vineyards has an eye towards the Italian, with several Italian style wines and plantings of both Friulano and Sangiovese on property.
This is, of course, a dessert wine. It’s sweet, with 37 Brix and 16.2 Residual Sugar. Since we’ve had this a few years, I came across some sugar crystals in my glass, which always makes me laugh. When we first opened it, we were pretty much assaulted by the scent of green apples rushing out of the bottle. That receded a bit and we were able to pick out the floral and apricots.
Being an ice wine, this is particularly viscous. I was impressed by the balance though – there was enough acidity from the grape to balance out the sweetness. I’ve run into the occasional ice wine that is more like mead than anything else. This was definitely a well thought out dessert wine. Sipping this wine, Kevin and I both found a lot of apple. But as I spent some time with it, I also found apricots and peaches in there. Considering our unseasonably warm weather right now (no complaints) and the breeze blowing through the windows last evening, this was the perfect nightcap on balmy spring night.
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