Our first bottle of dessert wine — also known as Ice Wine — was from the Sheldrake Point Winery on Cayuga Lake in New York. It’s a bottle of 2010 Riesling Ice Wine and it cost us $65! I wouldn’t normally spend $65 on a tall and skinny bottle of wine, but it was unbelievable! We’re saving it for a toast this Christmas Eve — one year from my surgery, as I spent last Christmas in the hospital — to thank God for not only hearing our prayers, but answering them.
So Tom and I recently went to Niagara Falls for an extended weekend. We had planned to spend a day in Niagara-on-the-Lake and visit some of the wineries up there. We spent time researching the wineries and realized that Ice Wine is Canada’s specialty. Our search for the perfect Ice Wine was on! After visiting six wineries, we came home with 11 bottles of it — Cabernet Franc was by far our favorites. Each of the wines was the sweetest you can imagine and combined with dark chocolate — pure Heaven.
My brother, Bob had told us to open our window when traveling along Route 90E on our way to Canada. He told us that when we reached Lake Erie, we could smell all of the grapes along the way, as grapes are grown all along the shores of Lake Erie. I couldn’t imagine that. I cracked my window at one point and the aroma of sweet, ripe grapes poured in our car. We couldn’t believe it!!! I cracked the window for the next hour or so, every time we saw grape vines near the highway. And it instantly took me back…
Picking grapes at Grandma Knowlson’s house in August. We’d eat just as many as we picked. Those grapes were warmed by the sun and just so incredibly sweet! We’d be barefoot and the shade around the grape vines would make the ground cold on our feet. We were tanned by the sun, as we spent all of our time outside in the summer. We loved helping Grandma — whether it was picking cherries, grapes or plums. There was lots of laughter and lots of fun. There were no computers, no internet, no smart phones and no computer games — nothing to do inside. Most homes didn’t have air conditioning — if you can imagine that — and it was cooler outside. Did you ever just lay in the cool grass in the shade in the summer and spend an hour looking at the shapes in the clouds? Or lay in the grass on your belly and dig through a clover patch, looking for that cherished four-leaf clover? Or spend an afternoon picking grapes with your Grandma?
Grandma would make quarts and quarts of grape juice! My Mom planted grape vines at her house too. You could smell them on the way to the barn in August and September. I’d eat those grapes too — throwing the skins to the chickens in the chicken coop. My Mom made grape juice too — from Grandma’s recipe. There was nothing sweeter than their grape juice.
Until now. Until we found Ice Wine. So I guess we can give the credit to Grandma — who introduced all of us to the goodness of sweet grapes.