Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 13, 2017
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One Bottle: Ice cidre

Hockey and ice wine, it’s the perfect Canadian pairing. Of course, unlike hockey we can’t lay claim to creating ice wine. True, Canada is one of the world’s most important ice wine producers, but Germany is the original homeland for turning frozen grapes into a magical elixir.

That said, there is another frozen fruit-turned-adult-treat that truly has its roots in the Great White North. That would be iced cider, or cidre de glace. It's made from apples (and hence occasionally referred to as apple ice wine) but otherwise adhers to rigorous rules and production processes just like grape-based ice wine.

The first claim to a commercial ice cider was made in Québec in 1990, and indeed la belle province remains the heartland of the nascent ice cider industry. With a producer-backed push to ensure quality, in December 2008, the provincial legislature passed a formal reserved designation for Quebec’s ice ciders. Now, to be designated, the bottle in question must contain no additional sugar nor alcohol and be produced from apples frozen naturally until their sugar concentration reaches at least 30 degrees Brix (that is, containing 30 percent sugar).

La Face Cachée de la Pomme is one of Québec’s best-known ice cider producers. Their Neige Première is an intense dark golden in the glass. Frankly, it looks like apple juice and it smells like a venerable barn full of apples. But a taste of this ice cider is transformative. It’s super rich and unctuous at first, and like a crate full of perfect McIntosh fruit distilled into a singularly perfect essence of ripe, sugary apple laced with a licking of caramel.

Then a tangy bite of crispness arrives, bringing the senses out of their rich stupor by balancing out the sweetness before a lingering, luxurious finish. The label states that this ice cider has five to ten years of ageing potential, and it would be interesting to see how the wine develops, but it’s drinking like a glass full of decadence right now—either sipped on its own or with a plate of sharp, salty cheese.

La Face Cachée de la Pomme's Neige 2007 Première Ice Cider is available across Canada, from $25.00 to $29.99 for a 375ml bottle.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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