Icewine is a delicious dessert wine produced exclusively from grapes harvested naturally frozen on the vine. Lucky for us Canadians, we’ve got plenty of varieties to choose from! That’s in part thanks to the fact that the grapes that grow well in cold climates like ours make the best ice wines. These include hardy varietals like Gewürztraminer, Cab Franc, Riesling and Vidal Blanc. Cabernet Franc is particularly stunning and as Icewine and used almost exclusively in Ontario in this way.
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Unfortunately, this beautiful and uniquely Ontario wine has seen a downturn in sales due to recent travel restrictions. It’s traditionally been that special something that visitors looking to experience a unique taste of our province brought home. That’s why we’re inviting Ontarians to reignite their love of this special taste of place! Treating yourself or a friend to bottle this summer can go a long way to helping relieve some of the strain and keep the Icewine making tradition alive.
While it’s roots maybe in the coldest climates, it’s flavours are distinctly summer: think juicy peaches, apricots, honey, flowers and tropical fruit like lychee, papaya and pineapple. These characteristic flavours are some of the many reasons VQA Ontario Icewine makes for surprisingly good summer sipping. Obviously, it’s excellent served chilled with cheese after dinner – but consider stirring things up with a cocktail or two.
Here’s three of our favorite ways to enjoy Ontario VQA Icewine in the summertime. Santé!
This riff of a Spanish classic is thirst quenching and delicious in all the right ways. We wait for peak peach season to make this to ensure the fruit lives up to the beautiful wines.
1 bottle Ontario VQA Riesling or Gewürztraminer
2 cups Fresh Niagara peaches, pitted, sliced and chilled
1 cup Niagara cherries, pitted and halved
1/3 cup Ontario VQA Vidal Icewine
Fresh mint, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a large pitcher with ice and mix. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve over fresh ice and garnish with a slice of peach and mint.
Icewine we love for this: Signature Series 2018 Vidal Icewine by Peller Estates. Get it at peller.com or your local LCBO.
What goes better with wine than more wine? This Ontario-take on a classic French cocktail will add a little sparkle to your summer celebrations – even if they’re smaller than you’d like this year.
1 oz Ontario VQA Cabernet Franc Icewine
3 oz Ontario VQA Sparkling Wine
Pour Sparkling Wine into a flute glass. Using a stir stick or chopstick, slowly pour Icewine down the length of the stick so it sinks to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with a frozen raspberry or two and enjoy immediately.
Icewine we love for this: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine by Tawse. Get it in the Vintages Section of an LCBO near you.
This might be our favorite summer treat. The ice tames the sweetness of the Icewine considerably, while allowing the fruity and floral notes to shine.
3 oz Ontario VQA Icewine
2 cups of fresh ice
Fill your blender half way with 6 to 10 ice cubes, slowly add enough Icewine to cover the ice, blend until frothy. Pour into your favorite festive wide-rimmed cocktail glass and enjoy immediately.
Icewine we love for this: Red Icewine 2-Pack by The Ice House Winery. Get it theicehousewinery.com