Icewine: Intensely sweet and indulgent

This sweet dessert wine, traditionally made with white grapes, is now also made with red varieties, each with its own unique character. The grapes stay on the vine through autumn and dry into raisins. As winter arrives, the freeze-thaw cycle further dehydrates them, intensifying the sugar, acids and other components. The flavour of the juice is highly concentrated, making a complex wine with deep, rich nuances. Canada has made icewine into an international star. We’ve trademarked the term, and our Vintners Quality Alliance has created the most stringent regulations in the world for its production: it must be naturally produced (no artificial freezing); it must have a minimum Brix (sugar content) of 35 degrees; the alcohol must come from the grapes’ natural sugars; and the harvest must not start before Nov. 15. Why the exorbitant price tag and small bottle? When pressed, the frozen grapes produce miniscule amounts of juice. The yield is less than one-quarter of what would be produced by unfrozen grapes. 10 things you should know about icewine: 1. Icewine was discovered accidently in Franconia, Germany, in 1794. Vintners pressed frozen grapes they’d left on the vines for winter animal fodder and found that the resulting wine had a very high level of sugar. Late-harvest sweet wines were already prized in Germany, so by the 1800s, Eiswein was being made intentionally in the Rheingau region. 2. Icewine is made in Canada, Germany, Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Israel and California. Those made using freezers are often called “icebox wines.” 3. The first Canadian commercial icewine was made in 1978 by Hainle Vineyards in British Columbia. Ontario followed...

Icewine Recipe: Icewine Crème Brûlée (Egg-Free)

Icewine Crème Brûlée (Egg-Free) Courtesy of: Anna Olsen Food Network Serves 6 This version of crème brûlée is not cooked using eggs, but instead uses the acidity of Icewine, a very sweet dessert wine, to set the cream. Because it is not baked, it can be beautifully presented in wine glasses. Ingredients Custards 2 ½ cups whipping cream ¾ cup sugar ½ cup Pillitteri Riesling Icewine 2 tablespoons lemon juice Oat Brûlée & Assembly ¼ cup maple syrup 3 tablespoons regular rolled oats (not instant) 1 ½ cups mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries Oat Brûlée & Assembly ¼ cup maple syrup 3 tablespoons regular rolled oats (not instant) 1 ½ cups mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries Directions Custards Heat the cream and sugar over medium heat and whisk occasionally, heating just until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Icewine and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes, then carefully pour into serving dishes (you can use wine glasses, champagne flutes, or other desired attractive glassware, since you will not be using a torch to “brûlée” this dessert). Chill overnight to set (these custards need at least 8 hours to set). Oat Brûlée & Assembly 1. For the oat brûlée, preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a pie plate with foil and spray with food release spray. 2. Stir the maple syrup and oats until the oats are fully coated and then pour this into the prepared pie place, swirling to make an even and thin layer. Bake this...