On my first visit to Canada in 2003, I went to Ontario’s Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region, and tasted ice wine for the first time. Appropriately, I sipped while looking across the snow-covered vineyard at Inniskillin, a pioneer of this style of dessert wine that involves harvesting grapes frozen on the vine.
When I moved to Montreal, I discovered that Québec has its own take on this Canadian innovation. While there aren’t many grapes here, there are a lot of apples, so about 20 years ago someone invented ice cider. Like ice wine, it’s a viscous, sweet and delicious dessert wine.
I’ve enjoyed many a glass of ice cider over the past few years, as well as the quality sparkling cider that’s made in these parts, but only recently did I make my way to some of the cideries that produce it. Turns out there’s an official Cider Route in the Montéréregie region, which is directly across from the island of Montreal. Finding myself in pleasant countryside, tasting good cider at the source, less than an hour’s drive from downtown, was a very pleasant surprise! Continue reading