Why is it more expensive than regular wine?
Grape growers take a huge risk by leaving the fruit on the vine long after the
usual harvest time. Birds, animals and weather can all destroy the grapes as
they sit waiting for the perfect conditions necessary to harvest for
icewine. The grapes must be processed so carefully and quickly once the conditions
are met. The juice maybe sweeter, but there is less juice in each grape compared
to a fall harvest.
With such a brief history, determining the ability of icewines to improve with time is
open to conjecture. Sweet wines must have good acidity to gain complexity, so good balance is essential
for long term storage. Icewines are so appealing when young that there are few examples to assess
(and those are very expensive). The best method for choosing an appropriate icewine to cellar is to base
your choice on the grape variety used to make the wine. Icewines made with the Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
and Merlot grapes should be drunk young. Gewürztraminer and Ehrenfelser can frequently be low in acid
and while they will keep for 3-5 years, they are not good candidates for the cellar. Vidal is good for 5-7
years although Inniskillin Ontario has Vidal Icewines from the 1980's that are reportedly superb. For long
term aging, Riesling offers the best chance. The great, long-lived dessert wines of Germany are Rieslings
and the grape's ability to retain acidity, even in the hottest years, make Riesling Icewines the best bet for long term cellaring. As with any other wine, good cellar conditions (constant, cool temperatures) are crucial to allow the wine to develop its full potential.
How long will an open bottle of icewine last, are there
other uses for icewine?
Due to the high sugar content, a bottle of icewine will
last 3-5 days after opening if re-corked and stored in the fridge. Why this
would happen is beyond me, a opened bottle deserves to be consumed in one sitting.
Icewines can be very versatile. They have been blended with brandy to make liqueur, used
to create exquisite jellies and have been used as ingredients (albeit expensive ones) in several cocktails. There are also numerous recipes that incorporate icewine.
How is icewine best served? What with? Is there a special glass?
Icewine shows best when it is chilled but not cold. The ideal temperature is 10-12 Celsius
50-54°Fahrenheit. Renowned as "dessert in a glass" it is ideal on its own or with a fresh fruit plate.
Often, it is recommended that icewine be served in small liqueur glasses but research has shown that
stemware with a fairly large bowl (9 oz) is better as it amplifies the nose and intensifies the flavours.
Failing that, a normal wine glass is a better choice than glassware that is too small.
Where can I buy Canada's icewine
Unfortunately we are unable to tell you which wine stores in your area carry Canadian icewine. The regulations of importing and exporting of wine are controlled by the various States and Provinces in North America. Canada has recently reached a trade agreement with Europe and Japan. Other countries around the world will also have there own trade regulations and liquor laws.
How many bottles can you bring back to USA?
Each adult returning to the US is permitted one (1) liter of wine or
spirits duty free after 48 hours in Canada. Duty on wines can vary from 15
cents to 45 cents per bottle. It is recommended that you retain your receipt
and declare your purchase(s) at US Customs.
Importing wine to other Countries
Please check with your individual government office.