Recently, I was asked to present a lecutre and tutored tasting for a group of young professionals. During the reception that followed, we sampled four table wines with various appetizers and two dessert wines – Ferrante Vidal Blanc Ice Wine from Ohio and Fonseca Bin 27 Port. Sampling two dessert wines in a pre-dinner reception is not something I would normally suggest but the event host was very interested in expanding the tasting to include a lesson on dessert wines. I gotta tell you. The chatter at the dessert station was fantastic. On one end of the spectrum, we tasted a fortified red with mouthfilling tannins and, on the other, a lower alcohol white that was sheer nectar. Sipped alone, everyone was very fond of the Port – but paired with the right fruity dessert such as our lemon tart – the ice wine really danced on your palate. While I did encourage tasters to sample the port with a hunk of blue cheese, most went back to the ice wine for seconds. If you have not tried an ice wine lately, I highly suggest that you pick up a bottle or two. Crafted from grapes that are left on the vine until Dec and pressed while still frozen, the sweet juice becomes too much for the little yeast to consume. The finished wine is lower in alcohol with a good dose of sugar and (done right) palate cleansing acidity.

Whether it comes from Canada, New York State or Ohio, the honeyed aromas offer a great break from the savory food of winter and suggest that maybe…just maybe spring is in the air! Cheers.