Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ice Sage

This is a conversation I had recently after opening a wonderful Austrian ice wine.

"Do you want to try some ice wine?"

"No, thanks."

"Why not?"

"I don't like sweet wine."

"This isn't like the cheap sweet wines you grew up with. This is a special dessert wine that's rich and concentrated and it has a nice acidic zing at the end that gives it balance."

"Just a little."

"...Well, what do you think?"

"It's not bad."

"Want some more?"

"(fast forward) I don't like sweet wine. I just can't take them seriously."

Young people today have an advantage over many of the rest of us. Many are entering adulthood with at least some appreciation for a wide variety of wines from all over the world. No wonder, wine is frequently covered in mainstream media today. Older generations, however, came of age when the American wine industry was still in its infancy, and fine wines were hard to come by outside of major metro areas.

Many such people remain convinced that any sweet wine must mean cheap California stuff like they had in the 1960s, or Blue Nun. It's hard to overcome that kind of conditioning. Some have never tried a dessert wine of any kind, after many decades of fine dining.

This pains me because I have a real soft spot for great dessert wines of all kinds. Ice wines are among the very best, in my book. There's so many great ones these days, it's absolutely criminal that anyone would deprive themselves because of some old notions.

A couple of days ago I opened a Riedenhof Kadlec Lyss Doux 2000 ice wine, made from gruner veltliner, and fell instantly in love. This is serious ice wine, with lovely almond and peach aromas and good balance. It has the sophistication of a good German ice wine, but goes for about half the price at $35. Who could possibly not like this stuff?

I've written about a few ice wines lately, mostly as a result of sheer infatuation. I know port season is just around the corner, and I'm savoring the ice wines while I can. But I think many people still need to be coaxed into allowing themselves to like these wines -- I'm trying my hardest.

I know ice wines don't come cheap -- they're very expensive to make and produce very small quantities. But forget the past and splurge on an ice wine. La dolce vita is right.


Blogger Austenesque said...

You know, it's supposed to be 80 by this weekend - perfect last hurrah for these! I'll have to try and get my hands on one before port season officially opens :-)

9:29 PM  
Blogger JD said...

E, you are so on the right track!

7:11 PM  

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