Make no mistake, this ice wine is good

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Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes and mistakes. Of course, the first one was hundreds of years ago when the grapes left to freeze on the vine. It looked like the second mistake was going to be the ice wine I bought for this Wine Blogging Wednesday #27 hosted this month by Kitchen Chick.
Being a southern hemisphere patriot I’d been looking for Tasmanian or New Zealand ice wine but couldn’t find either in my local bottle shop. The choice came down to two. There was a 375ml of the German version at $400. Seeing as I had just bought a wet suit for a similar amount to cope with the icy southern ocean I couldn’t afford that one.
I was forced into buying a wine from a place that I had no idea made any wine let alone a drinkable variety. I knew that Mike Myers is very funny and that moose are kinda amusing. I knew that maple Syrup was tasty and that the Mounties were kinda cool.
But I was tempted to walk away rather than spend $90 odd pacific pesos (Aussie dollars) on a half bottle of Canadian ice wine. A sweet wine that was sparkling to boot. To be honest I thought it was more than funny and that the joke would be on me.
Yes, I bought a 2002 half bottle of Inniskillin sparkling ice wine from the Niagara Peninsula. Apparently it was the first VQA ( Vintners Quality Alliance) sparkling ice wine produced in Canada.
And that was my second mistake assuming it would be bad. This wine is one of the best dessert wines I have tasted. It is sweet but the bubbles – not as intense as champagne but nevertheless tickling my tongue – cut through the sweetness to make it much more drinkable ( in volume at least) to the usual flat variety. I really wish I’d been able to buy a whole bottle.
Then there was tarte tatin, a sweet caramalised tart a mistake in itself. I made no mistake in following Albert Roux’s instructions in caramelising sugar and butter, sprinkling it with green peppercorns, slices of ripe mango and (his variation instead of puff pastry) almond frangipani mix. The baking time for the four individual tarts was followed exactly and the result was good. The combination of caramel with the sweet mango cut through by the peppercorn’s spice and complimented by the almond base.

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The big brown cow pat

The final mistake was the best of the lot. My second bake was a single large tart. I baked it for too long and it came out over caramalized. It looked like a great big brown cow pat. The edges were dark and chewy.
Boy, did it taste good. The chewy caramel and the spice of the pepper and the tropical overtones of mango were perfect with the subtle ripe summer fruit flavours of the ice wine. This was no mistake. It was divine intervention.

8 Comments

  1. Canada was not the first to make icewine Germany claims that honour.
    Today Canada’s reputation for producing icewines exceeds that of Germany. There are close to 300 wineries in Canada that produce icewine and so many good ones. There are five wineries maybe more by now that produce only icewines.

  2. Thanks for the links. I should visit Niagara – my cousin was born there. You should try the sparkling wine although down here in Australia it cost nearly $100. I was going to blog a Krachen we’d been drinking at my wine group but am very glad I found this wine and will be, budget permitting, buying it again. Cheers.

  3. Thanks for particiating in WBW #27. (It’s taken a while, but I’m finally revisiting everyone from WBW #27 and re-reading all the posts.) I’m glad you enjoyed your Canadian experiment, and your tarte looks amazing! I’ve never heard of a *sparkling* ice wine.

    I live a 4-5 hour drive from Niagara. Inniskillin is probably the best known Canadian ice winery, but the whole Niagara region is quite covered with wineries. Maybe the other wineries are not producing ice wine in large enough quantities to export world-wide.

    Here are a few websites with info on Canadian ice wines.
    http://www.winesofcanada.com/ontario.html
    http://www.winesofcanada.com/icewine.html
    This one lists Niagara wineries that produce ice wine: http://www.icewineniagara.net/Icewines/Colio/

    I can’t help with what’s the best Canadian ice wine. I’ve tried four Canadian wineries’ ice wines (Inniskillin, Peller, Pillitteri, and Hillebrand), but I’m pretty easy going and while I like certain ones more than others, I don’t recall strongly disliking any of them. I’m sure there are some very fine ice wines out there that would outshine the Canadian ones I’ve tried, but they’re beyond my wine budget.

  4. Nick, perhaps you could tell me which Canadian icewines are better. Sady even at one of the best local bottle shops here this was the only Canadian available. Actually, the bubbles do work very well cutting through the sweetness.

  5. Ugh, there are much better ice wines than Inniskillin. But they get the press. I do not believe it was the first made in Canada and why on earth they would bubblize something like that is totally beyond me.

  6. Cheers Ellie,
    I know what you mean about caramalized pumpkin. Go the ice wine.

  7. Looks good to me – and the over caramelized bits are the best bits, my brother and sister will fight me for the sticky bits of butternut pumpkin whenever I overbake them…

    Now to find out what the heck ‘ice wine’ is. Ahh google, my dear friend!