I have an obsession with dessert wines. I fall head over heels for a sweet wine over a dry wine every time. I have found cheap plenty of cheap moscato varieties that I adore, but my true love? Ice wine.
We bought a case of wine (for the discount!) a few months ago and I got to pick half of the bottles myself. I had to get an ice wine. Yes it was a tiny bottle and more pricey than I would normally pay. But I love it. So I saved it for months. Every time it seemed like the right night to crack open the bottle I changed my mind. I couldn’t bear the thought of drinking that tiny bottle when the moment wasn’t right!
This week it happened. I bit the bullet and opened that sweet bottle. One word: luxurious.
So what is ice wine? It is a dessert wine that is made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The water in the grapes freezes allowing for the flavor to be extremely concentrated when the grape is pressed.
Why is it expensive? Ice wines can only be produced when the conditions are perfect, meaning that they are rare (in comparison to other wines). They are labor intensive to produce and can only be made in small amounts.
What to pair them with? Well, I am not expert, so I just go with my own judgement here. I am sure there are professional sommeliers that would disagree. I prefer a strong cheese with my dessert wine, but have read that rich desserts, nuts or fruit also pair well.
The bottle we drank this week is from Jackson-Triggs Winery in Canada and is very creamy and rich. It is too sweet (in my opinion) to go with a dessert. It could stand alone as your dessert or would go perfectly with a strong cheese. I suggest a Chevre – my favorite being the Three Peppercorn Chevre from Redwood Hill Farm. Chevre is goat cheese, so it is soft and tart balancing perfectly with the acidity in the ice wine.