Ice Ice Baby

Food Finds by Jessica Sacco / August, 2017

Chill out with one of Peter and Brenda Oldak’s ice wines. Rhapsody in Blue & Vidal Blanc is a combintation of sweet, dense, and concentrated blends.

To create the specialty beverage, the Oldaks freeze white grapes on the vine at their five-acre property, Jewell Towne Vineyards, before harvesting. Once pressed, only a quarter of the nectar from the berries is captured and fermented, which gives it a potent burst of flavor. “Ice wines take a lot more grapes to make,” Peter Oldak says. “You’re only getting 25 percent of the juice you would normally get because of what’s kept after the ice is in the press.”Hints of honey and apricot add character to the wine and bring out the richness of the grapes. The crispness from the chilled liquid makes for a wonderful drink to enjoy on a warm night, on its own or paired with a favorite desserts.

The Oldaks started making their ice offerings in 2000, a relatively uncommon type of wine in the region, but have been growing grapes since the early 1980s, and they make other wines as well. By 1994, the pair decided to go commercial, the first to do so in New Hampshire. “We were probably the most northerly grape-growing vineyard in New England,” Peter says. Technically, their land is split between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “We were really the canary in the mine with finding whether you could successfully grow wine grapes.” They could and they did. Each year the Oldaks produce 9,000 cases of red, white, rose, and ice wines.

Jewell Towne Vineyards
183 Whitehall Road
South Hampton, N.H.

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