By Kori ~ December 12th, 2008.
As with most things in life, even those things we love, drinking wine can become routine, ho hum. Sure you may enjoy a good bottle here and there, have fun at a winery, or try a new varietal to keep things interesting. But then, out of nowhere, BAM!, a wine experience comes along that really gets your attention and reminds you why you spend so much time thinking about, reading about, and researching (aka drinking) this special juice. Recently, I had a “BAM!” experience with a bottle of 1995 Columbia Crest Reserve Ice Wine.
Years ago during a visit to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada, I was introduced to ice wine. It is yummy stuff! Shortly after returning home, I was visiting Chateau Ste. Michelle in nearby Woodinville, Washington, and found this Columbia Crest Ice Wine for sale in the shop. Both Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest are owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. I quickly snatched up a bottle. I took it home, added it to my cellar, and waited for a special occasion to try this Washington State ice wine. [Note: The U.S. does not have the same strict rules for ice wine production as Canada but that’s a topic for another day.] As happens far too often, I wait and wait for a special occasion and end up waiting too long. With wine, that is very dangerous since there is a finite window within which you should ideally consume it. According to Vinfolio, the cellar-tracking program that I use, I should have drunk this 1995 Ice Wine by 1998. Whoops! I was still waiting for that perfect occasion to open it in 2008, knowing full well that it was probably vinegar by now.
Recently, we had our good friends Mikelle and Jon over for dinner. After enjoying a chicken enchilada dinner and lemon cake for dessert, we were in the mood for an after dinner drink. I headed to the wine cabinet for a dessert wine. Knowing that my precious Ice Wine had probably gone bad, I decided to finally open it, fully expecting to pour it down the drain. But, lo and behold, BAM! Ten years later, it was excellent!
1995 Columbia Crest Reserve Ice Wine (Columbia Valley, WA): Grape: White Riesling. Beautiful amber color. Apricot, honey, and caramel aromas lead to flavors of apricots, honey, butterscotch, pear cider, and crème brulee on the palate. Incredibly smooth. Well-balanced with a long finish. Remarkably fresh and crisp for its age.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Winery, $15 [375ml]; Vickers’ Wine On-line (Rhode Island), $22.99 [375ml]
Filed under: American Wine, Dessert Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Riesling, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $25