Now I’ve had Icewine before, that delicious late harvest wine picked only when the grapes have been exposed to frost, perfect as a dessert wine. But, Ice Cider I have only just come across in a recent trip to Canada. Following the same principles as Icewine, late harvest apples picked after the cold has had its way with them. First produced in the 1990s it displays the same sort of characteristics as Icewine, in that it has a lovely rich honeyed flavour.
I came back from Canada armed with a few bottles of this to make great gifts, and friends were blown away by the flavour, definitely unique for cider drinkers, rich syrup like consistency and full of apple flavour with hints of crisp acidity that you expect from a cider. This is one to serve chilled on a special occasion, more like a wine with cheeses or dessert. Having been happy with the reception it received, I had a look on Amazon and found a few good examples available, definitely not cheap, but ideal as an alternative present for a cider lover, given they are packaged more like a desert wine. I have tried the Leduc-Piedimonte Ice Cider, and can say it is superb, rich and warm and very decadent.
We talk a lot about new world wines, but some of these countries have now truly jumped on the cider wagon!
For years Australia relied on their own version of Strongbow, just as sweet and commercial as you can imagine. Since the late 90’s however that has changed. Tasmania and Victoria have a great climate for apple production, and are producing some fabulous ciders, Australia even has its own cider organisation Cider Australia – mind you at their recent award show top honours went to the UK with Thatchers Gold, so they still have some catching up to do! Just like new world wines, new world ciders aren’t limited by century old traditions, so makers are free to play around and produce excellent English style ciders alongside European Cidre. An excellent example of this is Willie Smiths who are producing an excellent Normandy style cidre in Tasmania – a complex, dry thing aged for three months in French oak barrels.
Not surprisingly Australia has also embraced ginger beer, given they have a large supply of fresh grown ginger to hand. Long known for their excellent non-alcoholic Bundaberg Ginger Beer, local brewers are now embracing the alcoholic version. Possibly one of the best around and certainly most intriguingly named is East 9th Brewery with their Lick Pier Ginger Beer.