I was pretty excited this year to have some actual Kosher for Passover wines made in Ontario to write about. I considered it big news for those who wish to keep a local palate and observe a springtime religious tradition. But along with 2 success stories, I must bring a failure to the table. Tzafona Cellar’s Cold Climate Vidal Icewine 2014, produced by Diamond Estates, really did not do it for me. A 375 ml bottle will set you back a fairly typical ice wine price point of $39.95 for a 12% ABV bottle. I am reminded of a time years ago when I brought several bottles of (rather expensive) ice wine as a gift with me to Israel, to thank my friend’s family for letting me stay with them for a week. The bottles mysteriously vanished overnight, and my friend patiently explained to me that they were not Kosher. Oops. Sorry about the faux pas in 2007, my friend.

I understand that ice wine is rare and labour intensive, thus commanding a hefty price tag. And although sweet wine really isn’t my preference, I’ve definitely enjoyed other ice wines in the past. Besides, nothing finishes off a lengthy Seder filled with tax advice and being lectured about your lifestyle choices like a glass of something sweet to end the night. I went looking for this Vidal by Tzafona at the Summerhill LCBO. It was not stocked with the rest of the Kosher for Passover Wines, but rather hidden in the VQA ice wine section. An informal, highly unscientific survey of the Jewish people in my office told me none of them had heard of this Vidal and wouldn’t have known about it since it was not stocked with the other Kosher wines. I bought a bottle in the name of research and encouraging the Kosher OntarioVQA wine industry. I had low expectations. The wine delivered little more than syrupy sweetness and didn’t meet my already low hopes. I expected sweetness but still high quality from a vidal at that price point. Instead I think I developed a cavity and early onset diabetes thanks to the whopping 202 grams per litre of residual sugar. Sigh. Like its more palatable Riesling sister, this is not only Kosher for Passover but also certified vegan. We tried drinking it on its own and ended up pouring it over ice to dilute it a bit, and that was more palatable to us.

Appearance: Medium-light gold, with no sediment or CO2.

Viscosity: Surprisingly low viscosity considering the high level of residual sugar.img_20160413_212623606.jpg

Aroma: Very peachy  – overwhelming aroma of fuzzy peach candy or peach schnapps. Teenage experimentation with peach schnapps came rushing back to me and left me dizzy. Faint hints of yellow apples and apricots, and V8 fruit juice. Not pleasant.


Palate: 
Carrots, honey, syrup. After a few sips, I finally figure out what the mystery flavour is to me. Delmonte fruit cup syrup! Marshino cherries and Concord grape jelly. I’m not enjoying it.

Acidity: Medium acidity, very much hidden by the sweetness.

Body: Medium + body, lasting sweet flavour.

Suggested food pairings: Drink on its own or with coconut macaroons. But we don’t recommend this one, maybe you should stick to coffee after dinner instead. I’m sure Aunt Esther would agree.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com