Review on Iced Cider Category, by Bill Thornton
One of the many exciting wine classes at this year’s all Canadian Wine Championships was a relatively new class for this competition. Iced ciders competed in the “Tree Fruit Dessert” class at the ACWC until 2009. Their consistent high quality along with the increasing number of iced ciders entered earned them a separate competition class starting in 2010.
Commercial iced cider is a fairly new wine style developed in the Eastern Townships of Quebec where it is known as “cidre de glace”. Its first introduction commercially is generally attributed to Christian Barthomeuf in 1989. The growing popularity of this excellent, rich, luscious elixir has resulted in the rapid expansion of the number of producers, primarily in Quebec but also in Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick. Since 2010, wineries from each of these provinces have won medals for their iced ciders at the ACWC, with the greatest majority being from Quebec.
At the 2014 ACWC sixteen iced ciders were entered. All were very fine dessert wines that fit the iced profile well. Seven medals of merit were awarded. A feature common to all the top placing entries was a balance with enough acid and tartness to avoid being cloying, yet still presenting a full luscious sweetness that highlighted a clean apple flavour profile with a lingering smooth finish.
Double Gold for best in class as well the trophy for Best Fruit Wine was awarded to King’s Court Estate Winery from Ontario. It has a clear golden amber colouration with a well expressed, mature apple bouquet. The 233g/L sugar is balanced perfectly by crisp acidity and tartness resulting in clean apple flavours highlighted by hints of apricot and spice that persist into an extended delightful finish. At $15.95 for a 375 mL bottle it is a great value for such an outstanding wine.
Other medals for iced cider went to: Cidrerie du Minot (Gold and Bronze), Cidrerie Saint-Antoine (Gold), Cidrerie Michel Jodoin (Silver and Bronze) and Double Cross Cidery (Silver).
With price points generally lower than icewines from grapes, along with their unmistakable full luscious apple and apricot flavours, it is not surprising that some consider iced cider/cidre du glace as a prime candidate to become recognized as a signature Canadian wine style both at home and abroad.
Bill Thornton resides in Port Stanley, Ontario and is a member of the Wine Judges of Canada