A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 822: Icellars Estate Winery

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Icellars Estate Winery is a small boutique VQA member winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The 60-acre fallow land was carefully selected by owners Adnan and Elif Icel based on precise research of ideal growing conditions for premium vinifera varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Viognier. Adnan invited Rick VanSickle and me for a portfolio tasting. Adnan is a mechanical engineer from Turkey who purchased the property in 2010. Two years later, after preparing the vineyard, he planted all red varieties apart from Chardonnay.

Icellars Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($35)
Wismer Homestead Vineyard. Fermented and aged in French oak. Pale straw in colour; lightly toasty, reductive nose of lanolin, cut grass and green plum; medium-bodied, dry, minerally, creamy, grapefruit flavour with lively acidity. (90)

Icellars Estate Winery Chardonnay 2018 ($40)
Bright, straw colour; a nose of yellow apple and cloves; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, apple flavour with a toasty note and afresh finish. (88.5)

Icellars Estate Winery Chardonnay 2019 ($45)
Bright, straw colour; toasty, spicy, apple bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, apple flavour with a note of butterscotch; well-balanced with a long finish. (90)

Icellars Estate Winery Rosé 2020 ($27)
A blend of six red and three white grapes. Deep salmon colour; reductive nose of strawberries; medium-bodied, dry, nicely balanced, strawberry jam flavour. (89)

Icellars Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2017 ($50)
Ruby colour; lightly floral, cherry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured, cherry flavour. Nicely balanced, with good length. (89)

Icellars Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2019 ($35)
Wismer-Foxcroft grapes. Deep ruby in colour; cedary, blackcurrant and plum on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, plum and blackcurrant flavours, firmly structured with an engaging floral note on the end taste. (90)

Icellars Estate Winery Syrah 2017 ($40)
Wismer-Foxcroft grapes. Deep ruby colour; spicy, floral, blackberry nose with a floral note; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, spicy, blackberry flavour carried on lively acidity. (91)

Icellars Estate Winery Syrah 2018 ($45)
Deep ruby colour; cedary, blackberry nose with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, savoury, blackberry flavour; firmly structured and well-balanced. (90)

Icellars Estate Winery Arinna Blend 2016 (Library wine)
50% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec. Bright ruby in colour; cedary, vanilla, plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured, richly extracted red and blackcurrant flavours. Still tight, needs time. (91)

Icellars Estate Winery Arinna Blend 2017 ($45)
47% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec. Deep ruby in colour; cedary, redcurrant bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, Bordeaux style, firmly structured, toasty, blackcurrant and plum flavours. (91)

Icellars Estate Winery Merlot 2017 ($45)
Dense purple-ruby in colour; cedary, minty nose with a vegetal note; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted plum and cherry flavours; firmly structured. (89)

Icellars Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Library wine)
Dense purple-ruby in colour; blackcurrant, vanilla nose with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, elegant, beautifully balanced, great extract. St. Emilion style. (92)

Icellars Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($50)
Deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, cassis nose with earthy-vegetal tones; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted, sweet blackcurrant fruit, showing ripe but gripping tannins. Needs 2–3 years. (91)

Icellars Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($90)
Deep purple-ruby colour; cedary, blackcurrant nose with toasty oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted and firmly structured blackcurrant and plum flavours. Beautifully balanced wine. (92)

Icellars Estate Winery Wyana Wanda Blend 2016 ($85)
Dense purple-ruby in colour; spicy, cedary, vanilla, mint nose of redcurrants; medium to full-bodied, dry, spicy, red and blackcurrant flavours; firmly structured but juicy. (90)

Icellars Estate Winery Red Velvet Apassimento 2019 ($140)
Picked December 7th. 67% of the blend dried Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% undried Malbec and 11% undried Merlot. Aged 24 month in French oak. Deep ruby colour; spicy, bitter chocolate nose; full-bodied, just off-dry, raisin-y, firmly structured, well-balanced, earthy plum flavours with a firm tannic finish. (91)

Icellars Estate Winery Riesling Icewine 2016 ($48)
Old gold colour; honey, molasses on the nose; light to medium-bodied, off-dry, honeyed grapefruit flavour; beautifully balanced. (92)

Icellars Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Icewine ($48)
Deep orange-bronze in colour; honeyed strawberry nose; medium-bodied, honeyed peach and wild strawberry flavours, beautifully balanced with fresh acidity. (92)

Other Wines Tasted:

Gérard Bertrand Change Merlot 2020 (Pays d’Oc, $15.95, Vintages release January 7th, #22499)
Deep ruby in colour; cedary, spicy, forest floor bouquet of plum and mushroom; medium to full-bodied, dry, fills the palate with red plum and redcurrant flavours carried on fresh acidity. Good value. (89)

Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2018 (Clare Valley, $22.95, Vintages #998476, to be released January 22nd)
Opaque purple in colour; cedary, blackberry nose with oak spice; full-bodied, dry, savoury, minty, blackberry and black olive flavours with well-integrated oak and lively acidity, (90)

Henry of Pelham Sibling Rivalry White 2020 (Niagara, $14.95, CSPC #126144)
A blend of Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. Pale straw in colour; aromatic, spicy, grapefruit nose; medium-bodied, just off-dry, grapey, lychee, grapefruit flavours; well-balanced, fresh and fruity. (89)

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