Vino: Canadian Ice Wines

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Oh, Canada! A quick trip to Toronto has me in the land of ice wine; an unctuous dessert wine made from frozen grapes.

That's right; grapes destined for ice wine will be left on the vine well into the winter. In freezing temperatures, the sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze; only the water does, so the result is a supreme concentration of flavor and sweetness. Though the wines are rich, they retain a high natural acidity and therefore are not cloying. Ice wines are risky and difficult to make, a vintner could easily lose their entire crop gambling on the perfect freeze, so prices are usually very high. Fortunately, since it is a dessert wine, a small bottle will go a long way.

Though they can be made anywhere in the world, both Germany (Eiswein) and Canada have outstanding reputations for the production of this style.

Inniskillin located in Niagara is probably the most well known Canadian Ice Wine producer. They make a range of wines each based on different varietals: Riesling, Cabernet Franc and even a sparkling one. Here's a list of stores in Manhattan carrying their wines.

Serve at room temperature as an aperitif or with dessert. Ice wines are best-consumed young, within three to five years of bottling and will keep open for five to seven days.

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