Gorgeously pure and expressive sweet Riesling with ambrosial notes of lychee, pineapple, lime and honey, underscored by crystalline acidity and frosty freshness. Unbelievable!
Gorgeous well chilled on its own, or with fois gras, fruit-based desserts or creme brûlée. Great to have instead of dessert too!
Stratus is made from 100% Riesling frozen on the vine in the high-end Canadian wine region of Niagara-On-The-Lake. Residual sugar is 118g/litre. Winemaker is Jean-Laurent Groux, a native of France’s Loire Valley who learned his craft in the vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Icewine (eiswein) is a sweet wine made by harvesting frozen grapes (the temperature must drop to -8°C) and pressing immediately using a special press (the required pressure can be 210 lbs/in², compared with 20 for normal grapes.) Because the water in the berries is frozen, the ice crystals can be discarded, leaving sugary, nectarous juice. The harvest is grueling work, with hardy workers toiling overnight in sub-zero conditions. Canada and Germany are the world's biggest icewine producers.
Making icewine is expensive, risky business: only 5-10% of the original crop ends up as wine (animals scoff loads, or berries turn to mush), and the yield of juice from this portion is just 10-15% that of unfrozen grapes. A cheaper way of doing it is to harvest as normal and freeze the grapes in a big freezer ('cryogenic extraction'); but these ersatz products cannot be called 'icewine', and trade instead as 'iced wine', 'icebox wine' or 'vin de glacière'.