Eiswein ― ice wine in German ― is made from grapes harvested and pressed while frozen. In Germany, where most eisweins are produced, freezing conditions at the crucial harvest time are iffy. Limited in supply therefore, the nectar is astronomically priced. However, in Canada, where freezing temperatures at harvest time are more reliable, ice wines are popping up from British Columbia to Quebec. Prices, though still lofty, are more modest; availability, though still spotty, is promising.
Leading the pack to bring ice wine to the West is Inniskillin Wines on the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. Its Riesling ice wine (375 ml.) costs $65, its oak-aged Vidal ice wine (375 ml.) $80. Light and delectable for sipping, they're both exquisite when splashed over thin-sliced strawberries for a simple dessert. Once open, ice wines keep well up to two weeks if chilled airtight. Look for them in fine wine shops, call (650) 325-2909, or go to www.inniskillin.com.