Product of: Canada
First produced in 1994, Neige (which incidentally is means snow in French) is the world’s first ‘ice wine’, or more correctly, ‘ice cider’.
The apples used in Neige are harvested from orchards in Canada’s Monteregie region, bordering the state of New York. These are picked in autumn at their ripest and kept in cool storage until winter. At the end of December, the fruits are pressed and the freshly extracted juice exposed to Quebec’s extreme January temperatures. The water in the juice slowly crystallises and separates from the sugar by natural cryco-concentration. After a few days in the intense cold, the concentrated must, which represents 1/4 of the original juice, is collected by means of gravity. This concentrated juice is then placed in stainless steel tanks where its ferments for at least six months, at low temperatures. More than 6kg of apples are required to produce just one litre of ice cider.
The composition of this 2009 récolte (harvest) is 80% McIntosh apple, known for its sweet and acidic taste, and 20% Spartan, a very sweet apple with a light pear flavour. (Sugar: 360g/l before fermentation, 180g/l residual. Acidity: 12g/l).
Neige Premiere is sold ready to drink but may be cellar aged for 10 to 20 years.
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 14/05/2012
Clear, golden yellow with bright golden highlights.
Fresh cider makers press with faint vanilla and pear crème brûlée.
Intensity flavoured, reminiscent of a Sauternes dessert wine but with crisp, apple and not-quite-ripe pineapple acidity providing balance, so making this a good deal more quaffable.
Long, long acidic yet balanced crisp apple and faint pineapple and honey finish.