While wandering the aisles at the Boston Wine Expo, I came upon a table with Neige Apple Ice Wine. I have been a fan of Neige for a few years and convinced my friend Dale to try it. He enjoyed it and we then continued our wandering. Soon after, I came upon another table offering apple ice wine from a new winery in Massachusetts. I had never heard of this winery before and was very intrigued so I had to stop to check it out.
The Still River Winery is located in Harvard, not far from Route 2, in the midst of an area well known for apple orchards and where I have often gone apple picking in the fall. It is a small, family run winery and they only produce Apfel Eis, an apple ice wine. I am sure their production is low. At the Expo, I got to meet the wine maker, Wade Holtzman, his wife Margot and son Leif. They were very personable and evidenced passion for their wine.
Apfel Eis is fermented in five-gallon batches and over 80 apples, of various types such as MacIntosh and Red Delicious, go into each bottle. It is pressed without preservatives, slowly fermented at very cold temperatures, and no sugar is added. It is sold in 375ml bottles for $24.99 each and you can check their website for the list of stores and restaurants that currently sell it. I have not seen it in any stores yet but will now be looking for it. In addition, you can order it online from their website, thus making it readily available to anyone in Massachusetts.
It has a rich, golden color and a powerful nose of fresh apples, like a delicious cider. It is a full bodied wine with a nice crispness, mild sweetness and plenty of apple flavors. It avoids being cloyingly sweet and has a richness and complexity that place it above a simple cider. I think it also has a nice balance to it. It presents a different style and flavor than the Neige, though both are apple ice wines. Maybe this is due to the differing terroir, or the varying types of apples that are used.
I very much enjoyed the Apfel Eis and think it would pair very well with an apple dessert or a cheese plate. At about $25, I consider it reasonably priced for dessert wine and would definitely recommend you check it out. It would also make a nice treat for Valentine's Day. Plus, I think it is good to support a local winery, especially as they make a high quality product. The Holtzmans have a bright future ahead of them if they keep making such a delicious product.
Just a final note: I will writing a follow up post about the Apfel Eis as I will be receiving some additional information about it, as well as tasting more of it, including pairing it with some different foods. Maybe I will even do a blind tasting, pitting Neige against the Apfel to see which one people prefer.
104 Bolton Road