Just around the corner from my place a new winery Ex Nihilo is just about to open it's doors in Okanagan Centre (or Lake Country as the amalgamation of the town is now called). Ex nihilo is a Latin term meaning "out of nothing". It is often used in conjunction with the term creation , as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning "creation out of nothing". They will be opening just in time for the Spring Wine Festival May 1 to 10th.
The Okanagan Valley has over 80 wineries from Vernon to Osoyoos with world class wines and stunning vistas. One of the first releases from Ex Nihilo will be a limited release Icewine to be called "Sympathy for the Devil". I read that the Harders, the owners of the winery, approached Mick and the boys of the Rolling Stones 3 years ago with their product. It's a holy grail opportunity for celebrities to build their own personal brand when they tack their name onto foodie labels.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario said, "That wines endorsed by Wayne Gretzky will sell 18,000 cases (or $2.7 million) over the next 12 months, and wines endorsed by Dan Aykroyd over 11,000 cases ($1.7 million). Both were among the top-10 bestselling wines of 2007.
Spokesman Chris Layton said all new celebrity wines have been selling well and significantly better than new, non-celebrity brands. Other celebrity wines are endorsed by: Mike Weir, Tommy Lasorda, Bob Dylan, Mariah Carey, Lorraine Bracco, Larry Bird, Fess Parker, Frances Ford Coppola, Barbra Streisand, Sting, Paris Hilton and Mario Andretti."
This particular ice wine from Ex Nihilo was produced from Pinot Noir grapes that are left to hang on the vine well into the winter months. When the temperature reaches minus 8 degrees Celcius the frozen grapes are then handpicked and pressed before the sun rises. Only 222 cases were produced this year which makes this a rare gift. Each bottle will be numbered and come with a collectors book. It will have the classic Rolling Stones logo for $125.00 per bottle. If this seems cost prohibitive I assure you ice wine is at a premium cost due to the labour intensive method of producing it and the limited quantities. It is due to be released May 1, about the same time Ex Nihilo releases it's own brand label. They will be releasing 500 cases of Riesling and 100 cases of Merlot. To get your own bottle sign up here .
Among the dozens of types of dessert wines in the world, one of my favorites is eiswein, or ice wine. The world's leading producer of ice wine is Canada, followed by Germany and Austria. Because of the concentrated taste, ice wine is one of the most elegant and refined dessert wines. Its opulent flavors are balanced by crisp acidity. Imagine a kaleidoscope of peaches, nectarines, apricots, and honey. Because the wine is so intense, a typical serving is just one ounce. There are so many delicious ways to use ice wine; Honeydew Melon Soup with Ice Wine, Summer Berries with Chilled Ice Wine Cream, Inniskillin Icewine and Thyme Grilled Fig Salad with Gorgonzola
and Sherry Dressing, or even Ice Wine Truffles .
My all time favourite and simplest dessert ever to use ice wine is to have Bernard Callebaut chocolate cups on hand. An ounce in each glass and voila!!!! If you would like to make your own chocolate cups try this recipe below. It makes 10 cups for 10 shots.
**Ice Wine Chocolate Cups**
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped ( I would use Bernard Callebaut or other premium chocolate)
miniature paper baking cups or candy foil liners
ice wine or your favourite liqueur
Melt chocolate over low heat in small saucepan or in microwave until smooth.
Brush insides of foil cups with chocolate to within 1/8 inch of top. Repeat until chocolate is about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate cups for 10 minutes. Brush another layer of chocolate over first layer. Refrigerate until very firm. Carefully peel liners from chocolate and store covered in refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
Just before serving, fill with ice wine or your favorite liqueur.