I visited Icellars recently and had a chance to meet Adnan and Elif the proprietors of their eponymous winery. The production is very small and the facility is a little unassuming on a stretch of road just up the road from Coyote’s Run. When you walk into the winery you will be greeted at the door by Simba, the golden retriever as he invites you into the facility. The tasting room is a corner of the production facility. I’m a fan of when the tasting “room” is a part of the production facility. I think it helps connect the consumer with where the product they are enjoying comes from.
While the winery is currently producing on a small scale there is definitely room and a plan to grow the production of this winery. Adan and Elif own 60 acres (you can find Adnan on Twitter @FoolAnd60Acres) there are currently 17 planted. They have certainly approached the right people to help get the winery up and running as Peter Gamble is consulting on the winemaking and Craig Wismer is overseeing the vineyards.
The wines are tasty and it’s clear with the attention to detail in the winemaking that this is a premium winery. The wines are priced as such. To be honest, my only criticism of what’s going on at this winery is the lack of an entry level wine in the portfolio. That being said it’s worth seeking Icellars out, it’s only a matter of time before the word is out on this place.
2014 Chardonnay – $35.00 – ****+ – This is smoke and graphite layered over tropical fruit. As this unravels on the palate you step into an orchard with peach, apple and roasted pineapple. The oak flavours are well integrated with hints of baking spice and vanilla working in nice harmony with the fruit. Nice acidity rounds out the package and while this sits a little heavy on the mid palate this finishes light on it’s feet.
2015 Chardonnay – $35.00 – ****+ – The mineral is front and centre in this bottle but there is a lot to say about the fruit. This is a little more restrained and I would even say this is a little more “Niagara” than the 2014. The flavours are peach, and green apple. There is a nice graphite and smoky note that brings up the finish before nice balanced acidity keep the palate clean.
2014 Arinna – $39.00 – **** – The blend is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon/33% Merlot/1% Cabernet Franc. This is very young and needs either time in a decanter or in a cellar for another 12-18 months to really become approachable. The nose leans towards savory with herbaceous notes layered over blackberry and black currant. This is a little rough on the finish but it’s definitely because of it’s youth. I am looking forward to revisiting this wine in a year.
2015 Pinot Noir – $45.00 – ****+ – This is a brooding, heavy, dark cherry sort of pinot with violet aromas layered over the fruit. This wine opens up on the mid palate with a huge floral burst that lingers on the finish. As with Arinna this wine is built to age and isn’t quite ready to be unleashed. If you do decide to open make sure you give it time to open up before serving.
2014 Pinot Noir – $45.00 – ****+ – There is a nice earthiness on the nose of this wine that is very typical of Pinot from the area. The fruit is dark on this with black cherry and blackberry that open up under the damp forest floor. This is another bottle that should age gracefully over the next 3-5 years in a cellar but it is quite approachable now.
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – $50.00 – ****½ – This wine is built for the cellar so anticipate some time in a decanter if you decide to open this young. That being said there is a lot to enjoy about this wine in it’s youth. The fruit that climbs out of the glass is heavy and concentrated. Black Currant, Blackberry, Blueberry work well with a nice Coffee note and campfire smoke that bring up the finish. There is a vanilla note that is intertwined with all the fruit and smoke that help pull this wine together. I would plan on enjoying this wine in it’s youth … but expect to wait 3 years for it to settle down. If you really have patience I would expect this to develop nicely in a decade in a cellar.
2014 Wiyana Wanda – $60.00 – ****+ – This is the top tier wine from Icellars. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon/19% Merlot/6% Cabernet Franc. There is a slight savory edge to the nose but it’s cut right in half by aromas of blackberry and blueberry. The flavours on the palate match the nose with a beautiful concentration that fills your mouth from cheek to cheek. This is juicy and ripe and (as is the trend with this winery) needs some time in bottle to settle down. Expect this age gracefully in a cellar for 10 years but to become approachable after 3.