Leave your winter woes at the door. The 14th annual Ice Wine Festival — a progressive wine tasting held March 3, 10 and 17 at Debonne Vineyards, Ferrante Winery, Grand River Cellars, Laurello Vineyards and St. Joseph Vineyard — may just have you toasting Ohio’s cold snaps. “We have the ultimate growing climate [for ice wine],” says Mary Jo Ferrante, co-owner of Ferrante Winery. Being close to Lake Erie offers cooling breezes during the summer heat, extends the growing season in fall and blankets the vines in snow come winter. “We get those freezes in December,” she adds, “then pick them as soon as it freezes.”
Try this: Ice wine’s concentrated juices create a sweeter flavor profile with notes of brown sugar or honey and includes hints of lemon or peach. “It’s great just to enjoy by itself to satisfy your sweet tooth after dinner,” says Ferrante. Or you can try these recommended pairings.
1. The habanero-infused estate vidal ice wine from Laurello Vineyards blends sweet with a spicy kick, which goes perfectly with a warm bread pudding.
2. Lighter than most of its counterparts, Debonne Vineyards’ riesling ice wine offers a nice counter to strong cheese such as Gorgonzola.
3. Grand River Cellars’ vidal blanc ice wine shows its sweetness with intense peach and honey notes that marry well with Brie or blue cheese.