If I can’t make it to the Niagara Ice Wine Festival, I’ll make the Ice Wine Festival come to me!
And as luck would have it, I happened to have bottles from two great wine regions; Niagara and North East Ohio. While it won’t be on a grand scale, it’ll be sweet. Literally.
For the occasion, and completely ripping off their idea, I got creative and made my own marshmallows to toast. So there goes my new year’s resolution to limit sugar, at least for today.
Today’s featured wines are a 2010 Colaneri Profundo Aumento Chenin Blanc from Niagara and 2010 Ferrante Cab Franc from Geneva, Ohio. The 2010 vintage led me to wonder if maybe they were past their prime. Like many wines, ice wine can be cellared for many years, and because of the high residual sugars and acidity it would store well. But you won’t really know until it’s opened: if it smells like vinegar or sherry, it’s spoiled.
Being the brave student that I am, I’ll push on and try them. All in the pursuit of knowledge.
According to the Canadian Vintners Association, Canada is the world’s largest producer of ice wine. In 2015, Icewine made up 25% of the total export value ($18,623,057) and 0.3% of export volume ~ 234,604 litres). Ontario is Canada’s largest exporter valued at $15.6 million.
With similar weather patterns and temperatures to Ontario, Ohio is gaining steady ground with ice wine production. Its upcoming Ice Wine Festival in March will prove to be a great celebration of their hard work.
Ice wine is a sweet dessert wine produced from grapes that are left out on the vine to freeze. Hand harvested in sub-zero temperatures (usually before sunrise when temperatures remain consistent and its coldest~ brrrrrrrrr!) the grapes are pressed outside to maintain the consistent temperature and high sugar content of the grapes. You can read more detail about it here.
The homemade mallows were ready, and I thought I’d add to the pairing some Ghirardelli chocolate, fruit, and a little Brie as a savory contrast. And as an added treat, our friend, Shelly brought a bottle she’d bought back on our trip to Niagara a couple of years ago, a 2010 Pilliteri Estates Cab Franc Icewine. More yum! It tasted
like the most decadent honey, with a kick. Curiously, neither HubbyDoug nor Shelly shared my enthusiasm for sampling outside. Wah. So the kitchen served as a warmer venue.
It was great to sample ice wines from both sides of the border. Each one had its own unique vibe that made them very special.
I know I’ll get to the Niagara Ice Wine Festival again, and I’m looking forward to the Ohio Ice Wine Festival in March. Both are a great celebration of not only the wine itself but of the winemakers who struggle against all odds to create and perfect this wonderful wine.