Have you ever tried Ontario ice wine? If you haven’t, you should. This amazing sub-genre of Canada’s commercial wine industry has won many awards over the years, most notably Le Grand Prix d’Honneur at the 1991 Vinexpo in Bordeaux France.
This award is given out once a year by a panel of international judges who sip and taste wines from literally every corner of the winemaking world. The prize was quite an honor to bestow on a variety of wine that had only begun commercial production in Ontario in 1982. The complex method for making Ontario ice wine is modeled after the centuries old techniques for making German Eiswein. (The first ice wines were produced in Germany about 700 years ago.) According to Canadian law, in order to be considered true Ice Wine, all grapes must be harvested after the first hard freeze at a minimum of –8°, brrr. Freezing temperature is key. If it doesn’t come quickly enough in the season the grapes can rot. If it is too severe, the grapes will become to hard and no juice can be extracted. In order to retain their sweet flavor, the harvested grapes need to be pressed immediately while still frozen.
The pressed juice is thick and sugary, much like the wine produced after fermentation!This thick sweet grapey character of ice wine makes it a natural after dinner desert wine. It also makes it a natural partner to our white tea, a Pai mu tan from Fujian. This tea is often described as jammy, with sweet notes – perfect for layering with the sweet icy wine. Brew a pot today and savor the award-winning flavor of Ontario. Note sweet velvety tones highlighted by hints of grape. (We shouldn’t have to tell you that this one makes a fantastic iced tea!)