In Ontario Riesling and Vidal icewines, particularly Riesling icewine, can cost a pretty penny but given the conditions harvested in and the very concentrated juice extracted from frozen grapes it is understandable that icewine is a luxury product.
A cost effective and delicious alternative to icewine is Vin Doux from the Greek island of Samos in the Eastern Aegean. It is made from Muscat grapes and has been famous since antiquity but its allure has faded but not its charm or excellence. Having been to the Samos Wine Festival and conducted an extensive tasting at the United Wine Co-Operative of Samos where most of the Vin Doux is made a glass of Vin Doux evokes many memories of Samos. Unfortunately on my September visit to Samos there was no time to visit UWC Samos.
However as the festive season is amongst us you may wish to consider buying a bottle of Samos Vin Doux. It is quite good as an after-dinner drink and matches cakes and pastries with honey such as a baklava or an orange spice cake. Not that you are into trickery but many a drinker will ask you if you are serving an icewine!
The Vin Doux has aromas of apricot, peach, honey and marmalade. On the palate it is silky smooth bursting with exactly what is on the nose! Acidity is way back there. A long finish and at 15% alcohol there is no burn.
If you are starting a meal with some “nibbles” like nuts, dried figs or apricots and soft cheeses with apricot or peach jam to coat the cheese it might work well.
It should be served slightly chilled.
(Samos Vin Doux $13.25, LCBO # 38931, 750 mL, 15%)