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Ice, Ice, Baby
Pull out some of Canada's finest ice wine for a special occasion. Even if that's baking a pie.

Photo courtesy of Inniskillin's Facebook page.

Over the weekend, I baked a Honeycrisp apple pie and faced a pairings conundrum. Fortunately I had the perfect pick in my cellar: 2008 Inniskillin Winery Riesling Ice Wine ($70, 375mL half bottle, Niagara, Ontario, Canada), which I’ll admit I’d been saving for a special occasion but doesn’t a fresh-baked pie count? As a dessert wine, it’s certainly sweet – with tropical-fruit notes and Meyer lemon flavors – but the finish features a nice lift and round mouth feel marked by crisp, juicy apples.  Grapes for this ice wine were harvested in December 2008 and January 2009 when it was 10 degrees below zero Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit), which you can imagine is quite brisk and cold up in Canada. That’s precisely the point: Grapes used for ice wine should have frozen while still on the vines, resulting in a sugar-y taste on the palate. When pouring ice wine, a 2-oz pour is recommended.

Loyal shoppers at Sendik’s Food Market – with 10 stores, including Whitefish Bay, Wauwatosa and Franklin – swoon for the artisan ingredients lining shelves at each store. But did you know the wine stash is equally top-notch? Sign up for Sendik’s Wine Club e-newsletter, penned by wine and spirits director Marc Goodman who also authors a wine blog for the store’s site, and see for yourself. (Recently an Italian Chianti that earned 90 points from Wine Spectator went for $7 a bottle.) Fill out a quick form and you’re on your way to the deals which are exclusive to Wine Club members and outlined in emails sent twice a month. Goodman has also cooked up something else: free wine recommendations from Sendik’s Food Market offered via email. Details are within the links above.

Vino 100’s Wauwatosa location is hosting its Passport 2012 tasting on Nov. 10 when, for $40 (or $35 in advance), you can try nearly 50 wines from around the world and nibble on appetizers too. The event starts at 3 p.m. and wraps at 6 p.m. After the tasting, starting at 7 p.m., live music will fill the space for the next three hours. Call 414-456-9463 to reserve a spot at the tasting. Still not sold? Included with the tasting fee is a souvenir wine glass.

California continues to produce red-wine blends that stress the innovation that many of the state’s winemakers possess. The 2007 Franciscan Estate Magnificat (Napa Valley, California, $50) is a meritage that’s a traditional Bordeaux blend (71 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 26 percent Merlot, 2 percent Petit Verdot and 1 percent Malbec). Its plum and raspberry bouquet kicks into a dry, vanilla- and oak-laced palate with concentrated dark fruits, particularly boysenberry, and cloves. (www.franciscan.com)

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