First Time

Ice Apple Wine

A burst of sweetness, a fruity after taste and a lingering coolness in your throat...


First made in Germany in the late 18th or early 19th Century, icewine is now made in three Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The process involves leaving the grapes on the vine until the temperature drops to at least -7 degrees Celsius, which freezes the water in the grapes and concentrates the sugars. The act of freezing and unfreezing results in extra sweetness when the grapes are pressed.

The appellations are not exact. In Quebec, icewines are rather less sweet, in accordance with the German regulations, while grapes in British Columbia and Ontario have higher sugar levels, due to a longer season without frost. Currently, the Quebec Association des Vignerons has guidelines for icewine, but no formal rules for certification.

Among the most recent award winners from the Salon des Vins in October are the Vendange Tardive 2010 from Vignoble du Marathonien and the Vin de Glace 2008 from Vignoble de l'Orpailleur.

My mother and I tried ice apple wine from Domain Pinnacle, a family-owned orchard and cidery in Frelighsburg in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The wine is made from a blend of six apple varieties and more than 80 apples are used to produce each bottle.

It was thicker on the tongue than regular cider, and with less of a strong apple flavour. A perfect pairing with a light, flaky meal such as börek, or a pastry dessert.

Just in time for the winter, the Domain Pinnacle offers the following recipe:

Mulled Pinnacle Apple Wine (2 Servings)

2 cups (500 ml) Domaine Pinnacle Ice Apple Wine 1/8 tsp (1.25 ml)
cinnamon 1/8 tsp (1.25 ml)
nutmeg 1/8 tsp (1.25 ml)
cloves 2 oz (30 ml)
dark rum (optional)

Preparation: Combine all the ingredients, except rum, in small saucepan. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Strain and serve in warm coffee mugs. Add rum to taste for a spiked version.

January 2012

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