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Icewine…the nectar of winter. Or, should we say, nectar of the gods? What else could you possibly call a drink that goes for upwards of $250,000 per 350 ml (11.8 oz)? That’s the price you’d have to pay for an ultra rare bottle of Royal DeMaria, 2000 Chardonnay icewine. Most icewines are priced well below that figure, but they still garner higher prices than traditional wines. Why? The grapes used to make the sweet dessert wine aren’t pressed until they are frozen. As such, 1/5th the amount of grape juice is pressed from each frozen grape compared to the non-frozen variety. For vintners, a general rule of thumb is that each frozen grape will yield just one drop of icewine. The flavor of the finished product is divine. Depending on the varietal, the nose can offer notes of peach, pear, honey, dried apricot and green apple. In the glass, the flavor is a sumptuous combination of apricot, peach, mango, melon and other sweet fruits. This fabulous black tea blend uses real icewine to deliver all that fruity sweetness in a rich, round cuppa.Who invented icewine? No one really knows, but the Latin poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (AD 40-102) wrote that grapes should be left on the vine until they were stiff with frost. Evidently, he preferred the rich, sweet wines produced after November.
What type of tea do we use, how do we flavor the tea and why do we use natural flavors?
- We only use high grown teas from the top 3 tea growing regions of Sri Lanka - Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Uva. These three high-grown districts produce flavorful teas that have classic ‘Ceylon’ tea character which is noted by floral bouquet and flavor notes, touches of mild astringency, bright coppery color and, most importantly - perfect for use as the base tea of our flavored teas. (We have tested teas from various other origins around the world as base stock for our flavored teas, but none of these teas made the grade.) Dimbula and the western estates of Nuwara Eliya have a major quality peak during Jan/Feb, whereas Uva and the eastern estates of Nuwara Eliya have their peak in July/Aug. This ‘dual peak period’ allow us to buy the best for our flavored tea blends several times during the year, ensuring top quality and freshness.
- We use flavoring oils not crystals to give the tea drinker an olfactory holiday before indulging in a liquid tea treat.
- We specify natural flavors. High quality tea tastes good and natural flavors do not mask the natural taste of the high grown Ceylon tea. (The norm for many making flavored tea is to use overpowering artificial flavors, which can be used to hide lower quality tea). Natural flavors do not leave an aftertaste giving the tea a clean and true character. It should be noted that natural flavors tend to be somewhat ‘soft ‘ and the flavors slightly muted, but for many this is a refreshing change and one of the desired attributes of our naturally flavored teas.