10 April 2008

Out of Nothing Come the Rolling Stones

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.

Best Blogger Tips


  1. Boy, do I love ice wine.

    you posted: "Ex Nihilo was produced from Pinot Noir grapes that are left to hang on the vine well into the winter months"...

    well, that pretty much describes Mick and the boys! They are well into their winter months. But still kicking ass.

  2. To me, ice wine is like the Bare Naked Ladies...I'm happy & proud as a Canadian for their success but I can't stomach either.

  3. I love ice wine in chocolate cups, the flavours just seem to marry so well Catherine:D
    You would change your tune Peter if you had thrown back an ounce of ice wine and then eaten the cup at Gray Monk winery overlooking Lake Okanagan on a glorious sunny day with the Bare Naked Ladies and Great Big Sea playing in the backgroud:D It would convert any dry wine drinker:D

  4. I've had many a dessert wine, but somehow, never yet had an ice wine! This sounds like a very nice way to serve it--and no dishes/stemware to clean up! ;-)

  5. This is totally new to me. It's the first time I hear of ice wine. I thought wine was produced only in Mediterranean type of climates. Post more like this Val, I'd like to learn more about Canada. xoxoxo

  6. I'm a wine nut and have never heard of ice wine either. Although dessert wines aren't much my thing--I'm growing to appreciate them more and more.

    I find my tastes evolving the older I get. Years ago, someone told me our taste buds dull as we age. While I hope that's not true, it certainly would explain why I enjoy a wider variety of flavors now.

    But since having "dulled taste buds" sounds so awful--I prefer to think of it as gaining "culinary maturity." Has a better ring to it, wouldn't you agree?

  7. You see the method behind my madness Mike...no cleanup and no prep either:D
    Before I went to Greece Ivy I thought that the Okanagan Valley was very similar to Greece. On the other side of the hill they have a micro climate that allows it always to be 5 degrees warmer for vineyards. We also grow a varietal of grapes that can survive our harsher winters.
    I like the sounds of culinary maturity as well Sandie:D

  8. you have a great plan here for skipping the dishes..interesting idea.

  9. Hi Val,
    I luuuurve ice-wine. Not much is produced here though, and I had my fill when I was in Canada :-)

    These choc cups are a great idea!

    Have a great weekend,
    xx Nora

  10. I love dessert wine Val (muscat being a favourite). The ice wine sounds delicious in the chocolate cups! That has to be the easiest dessert.

  11. I like ice wine but I don't have it all that often as it is a bit expensive. The chocolate "shot" cups are a nice idea.

  12. This post reminded me of a 10 day trip I took with my husband in the Okanagan Valley. It was a 10 days of visiting wineries. We had so a good time. The wine we tasted were so good. But I never bought Ice Wine.

  13. Ice wine is new to me!

    Sounds like you live in heaven with all of those wineries around you!

  14. I never tried ice wine, but I'll be looking for it now. What a great idea with the chocolate shot glass! Great photo!

  15. oddly enough have never had icewine yet! Very interesting post...thanks!

  16. Well now I have to try ice wine! Seriously. Where can I get a bottle of this stuff ASAP?
    And I love truffles.

  17. I love drinking booze out of chocolate cups. The thing I remember the most from a wedding I went to a few years ago was that the viennese table also had a liquer bar with chocolate shot glasses. Good thing I wasn't driving because I had way too much fun with it.

    I am of two minds of ice wines. Some are just funky tasting to me, but there is one Hudson Valley ice wine that is to die for.

  18. Not a big fan of Ice Wine. I think it is one of those things that you either love or hate not much in between. I love the cups though!

  19. A new wine store! And a wine festival coming up! I would be in 7th heaven! Amazing how putting a celeb's name to something boosts it's power! When in Ohio I was able to get ice wine and really enjoyed it as a dessert. Serving in chocolate cups is such a great idea! Have not looked down here yet to see if any is available.
    How was your convertible ride to work?
    Have a marvelous spring weekend!

  20. This is a new one on me Val but I DO like the sound of ice wine in chocolate cups - mmmmmm

    Rosie x

  21. I can't believe you are having the Rollin's tongue in your post... I'm going to use it for my monday post!!! Isn't the world small? I'll post about Veal's tongue with vinagrette (je, je, see the relation?) I know I'm quite silly sometimes ;-)

    I have never tried ice wine and I would like to try... but with chocolate cups???????


Welcome to my home. Thank you for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your support, comments, suggestions, and daily encouragement.


This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.