Nature‘s frozen alchemy turns grapes to gold.
By Alexander Peartree
In the harsh winters of Germany, Canada and Upstate New York, winemakers have done for centuries that which alchemists strived to do in antiquity—create gold. Through manipulation of water, earth and vines, these masters transform the thin juice of grapes into a viscous nectar. Months after fall harvest, select clusters of Riesling, Vidal and the occasional Cabernet Franc remain on the vine, risking threats from mold and hungry vineyard pests. They hang in anticipation for that one bitter cold night in January, where they finally freeze solid—from pips to skin. Why would a vinter want frozen grapes? There is purpose, and there is desire, and the vintner has liquid gold on his mind. It is from frozen grapes that these modern-day alchemists create decadent ice wine—a golden elixir so sweet and vibrant, it’s as if joy and youth and even the summer sunshine are contained in every drop.
Let’s be honest here: when you’re out for a serious night of wine drinking what should you eat? Take a look as we tackle this question with a complete disregard to health (although Dr. Miller says the French Paradox Diet is legit!). The Wine Drinker’s Food Pyramid came to be whilst drinking with a group of winemakers and sommeliers in South Africa after a spirited Pinotage tasting. Naturally, it’s very scientific, because experts were involved.
Food Pyramid for Wine Drinkers
A proper night of drinking includes 5 sections
- In the form of a sparkling wine or a mixed cocktail. Examples include: a gin and tonic, sparkling wine or beer.
- White wine
- Are you with mixed company ( you know, the ones you wouldn’t drunkenly skinny dip with)? Then pick something that won’t make anyone angry. Sadly, this leaves you only 2 varieties: Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. However, if you’re with serious wine drinkers, you’ll be surprised how many of them will drool over a slightly sweet Riesling or Chenin Blanc.
- Red wine
- The better your friendship, the older the bottle.
- Dessert wine
- Substitute your desire for something sweet with a glass of dessert wine. What we’re drinking right now: Vin Santo, PX, late harvest Riesling, Pinot Noir and Port.
- When you’ve become too hairy (or hoary) for late night coffee and need to settle the nightmare of drinks you’ve just put into your body, it’s time for an Amaro.
Tips on drinking well
- Forget ordering by the glass, make sure you’re with enough pals to get a bottle.
- Water is essential, drink a full glass with every serving.
- If you are sensitive to alcohol (something I’ve always had a problem with) portion control is your friend