Akarua ‘Central Otago’ Alchemy Ice 2018
Grape Varietals: 82% Riesling & 18% Gewürztraminer
Growing Region: Central Otago - New Zealand
Head Winemaker: Andrew Keenleyside
4 Stars ★★★★
The climatic conditions ideal for making authentic ice wine don’t usually occur here in New Zealand - with snowfall typically arriving in the more southern regions after harvest has finished. So this Akarua ‘Alchemy’ Ice is a homage to the classic ice wines of Canada, Germany and Austria. In these countries, grapes while still on the vine freeze when the temperature drops as winter approaches or as early snow falls.
The grapes are harvested by hand early in the morning at below -10°C. On arrival into the winery the grapes are quickly and carefully pressed, as the water component inside the berry is frozen, the juice is highly concentrated in natural sugars and flavour and is slowly fermented to become a special sweet wine. To be a genuine Ice Wine, it must be naturally produced - with no artificial freezing permitted. So as the name ‘Alchemy’ suggest this is man’s ingenuity creating a similar effect.
So crafted slightly differently to traditional ice wines, the grapes for this ‘Alchemy Ice’ wine were harvested at the same time as the other grapes used for making dry white wines. But here their journey changes with the bunches being put into a blast freezer to be frozen. This quick snap-lock process ensures the grapes retain their natural acidity to balance out the lifted sweetness in the pressed juice. Akarua use two German ice wine yeast strains which work at relatively low temperatures (at less than 15°C) and at high sugar levels to evenly ferment the concentrated grape juice. After regular tastings, once a synergy between fruit sweetness and complimentary fruit acidity was achieved, fermentation was arrested, and the wine was prepared for bottling in September.
• Due to its youth - in your glass you will be greeted by a pale gold colour and a glistening hue. But with a gentle swirl the viscous juice will gracefully cling to the inside of the glass, so as to reveal and entice your senses with fragrant and exotic floral notes and tropical fruits.
The palate is vibrant showcasing ripe apricots, white peaches, pineapple, lychee, yellow and green Turkish delight and rose petal notes. The palate has a complex simplicity with a multitude of balanced fruit flavours all nicely delivered by finely tuned acidity which engages your senses with an elegant silky texture and lasting character on the detailed finish.
This 2018 Akarua ‘Central Otago’ Alchemy Ice has 9% Alc./vol. and 283g/L residual sugar *(375ml). Chill and serve in a narrow, aromatic wine glass at 8°- 10°C.
CELLARING POTENTIAL: *(Review 23/3/2019)
Drinking perfectly well this coming season; plus, will age well for another 6 - 8 years.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
Perfect wine pairing with lemon meringue pie, apple or pear tart, passion-fruit cheesecake, mango or peach sorbet, along with mild blue cheeses - enjoy.