Little Straw Vineyards2002 Auxerrois Icewine , Slamka Family Vineyard
This is British Columbia’s only Auxerrois icewine because Little Straw is one of the very few wineries still growing this Alsace white that, for reasons unknown, has not attracted much following among consumers. Some of the Auxerrois vines in this vineyard were planted 40 years ago and are among the oldest such vines in the Okanagan. Winemaker Peter Slamka occasionally leaves a block for icewine.
When he chose to do so in 2002, he had to wait until late January for the necessary freezing cold, later than usual for the Okanagan. This wine demonstrates the huge contrast between early-harvest icewines, with lots of primary fruit flavours, and late-picked icewine grapes, with the raisin and caramel flavours that develop when grapes shrivel on the wine for a month or two.
Deep gold in colour, this wine begins with aromas of burnt brown sugar and caramel, which carry through as flavours of chocolate, caramel, baked apples and crème brulée. While some icewines pair readily with desserts, this tour de force deserves to treated as a dessert all on its own. 92 points.
Reviewed March 12, 2008 by John Schreiner.
John Schreiner has been covering the wines of British Columbia for the past 30 years and has written 10 books on the wines of Canada and BC. He has judged at major competitions and is currently a panel member for the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards of Excellence in Wine. Both as a judge and as a wine critic, he approaches each wine not to find fault, but to find excellence. That he now finds the latter more often than the former testifies to the dramatic improvement shown by BC winemaking in the past decade.