Oh lordy another month has gone and whizzed by and its time for WBW again. Hosted today by Kitchen Chick (http://www.kitchenchick.com/2006/10/wbw_27_icy_dess.html) this month has a sweet theme. A few months ago I emailed Lenn to enquire as to how I might go about hosting a WBW. I fancied doing something about dessert wines as up until now there hasnt been a specific theme about stickies. I was gobsmacked when Lenn replied that sure I could host a WBW, the next available slot is sometime late next year!!!! Guess it shows how popular the meme has become. Anyways Im glad this theme has come up as Ive always had a hankering for the stickies, and Icewines (Eisweins for the Germanic peeps) are something kind of special. I managed to track down a copy of John Schreiners "Icewine" sometime earlier this year, but have so far managed to get as far as page 24. Im not a slow reader, but Im currently reading eight books at the moment seriously and another five that I dip in and out of. Anyway from what I have read it is well worth tracking down if you get the chance. I got my copy second hand via www.abebooks.co.uk which is always worth a look for out of print or foreign published books. If you dont mind waiting five or more weeks, you can pick up some serious bargains.
I digress. I chose two wines for this, one from the hotel cellars and one from my personal stash. The first is a Canadian Icewine, made from Cabernet Franc. Pelee Island Cab Franc Icewine 2001. Pelee Island was founded in 1982 and can claim to be Ontarios first producer of icewine. Situated on the north shore of Lake Erie, the vineyards are situated on an island that lies closer to Ohio than Canada. It is managed by a German Walter Schmoranz who's brother is the winemaker for Rheingau winery Georg Breuer. It is claimed that they made the Cabernet Franc icewine so that they could show off an icewine made from a noble Vitis vinifera variety when they returned home to Germany.
The wine has a really light rosewater colour with some russet tones about the rim. It is quite viscous leaving lazy trails as the wine slowly settles back down in the glass. On the nose the wine presents a whitecurrant and cranberry aroma with a touch of turkish delight and charantais melon on the back. It isnt as sweet as I expected at first, but then the sweetness grows on the palate like a boiled sweetie disolving. The turkish delight flavours are quite strong with honey and a touch of nougatty nuts. Its a dessert on its own, but apparently this works marvelously well with Rocquefort and other similarly acidic blue cheeses. ( I hate cheese so I cant really verify this.) Ive served this with a vanilla parfait studded with glace fruits and a raspberry granite and its been very well recieved.
From my personal stash I tried a half-bottle of Bassermann-Jordan Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Icewine 1996. I got this a few years ago from a broking list for a ridiculously cheap price (£15 a half bottle). I got a few bottles thinking perhaps it was a mistake or perhaps iffy stock. Ive had two of the five bottles and they've both been fantastic. I usually bring one out when the father-in-law is over because he has a sweet-tooth and laps up these kind of wines. This apparently was the first vintage under a new winemaker Ulrich Mell and it has subsequently been regarded as a great start to his reign at Bassermann-Jordan. The colour is a deep orangy amber. On the nose it is quite floral with honeyed dried fruits - apricots and big peaches with some mango and papaya too. Its a bit like the dried fruit medley that my son takes to school for his mid morning snack. On the palate the sugar is a bit more restrained, again the honeyed fruit flavours come to the fore and there is a slight nuttiness about the wine. It kind of reminded me of a fruity baklava that I had once in Glasgow. Truth is I dont like sweet wines on their own. I have to have something to balance them with otherwise all that sugar gets my teeth twitching and I have visions of pain and expense down at the local sadist (dentist). But I think it would be sacreligous to drink this with anything. I suspect that the brokers maybe left a zero off the end of the price, but I wont tell if you dont!!!