Book Reviews

Book Review: Icewine


Many writers consider that icewine has made Ontario famous in wine drinking circles all over the world. There are devoted icewine consumers from Beijing to Berlin and beyond.

Icewine (Canadian spelling) was accidentally created in Germany, but in 1974 a German immigrant in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley made the first from his estate’s fruit.

The response was instantly not only favourable but also ecstatic with wine aficionados. Soon after Ontario started producing icewine in considerable volumes due to the suitability of its climate. Now Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula produces an average of 470 000 litres compared to an average of 750 000 litres to Germany. Austria’s average is approximately 150 000 and British Columbia’s 77 000.

There are several other Central European ice wine producing countries, but quantities are negligible in world markets.

This book’s authors Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser are the co-founders of Inniskillin winery. Donald Ziraldo can be credited to have made Ontario icewine famous in Far eastern markets after an Inniskillin icewine won double gold medals in the bi-annual Bordeaux wine competition. Karl Kaiser was the winemaker of the winery until it was sold. His deep knowledge about wine making, chemistry, and icewine grape qualities, is unsurpassed.

The narrative explains in minute detail the effects of freezing of grapes, how it changes both the flavour and mouth feel of the wine if and when proper techniques were employed in harvesting, pressing, and fermenting the sugar-rich juice. Even snow floccules structures and their effect on grape quality and taste are explained in minute detail. The book also contains icewine recipes created buy late Isabella Calabis, at the time the resident chef of the winery, created.

These recipes alone make this book worth acquiring.

This is an excellent book not only for icewine aficionados, but also for wine makers, wine lovers in general, and wine writers.

Highly recommended.

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