Sunday, February 22, 2009

Apfel Eis vs Neige: Battle Royale

It was an epic contest, my own Wine Battle Royale. A head-to-head competition between Apfel Eis, of Massachusetts, and Neige, of Canada, both apple ice wines. Which would prevail? Would the local wine defeat its foreign competitor? When the tasting was over, who would emerge the victor?

I first encountered Apfel Eis at the Boston Wine Expo, where I also tasted some Neige, though I did not taste them together. At the time, it seemed that the two apple ice wines presented somewhat different styles and flavors. Yet I wondered how the two dessert wines would compare if tasted together and tasted blind. I was not sure the Expo really gave me an accurate comparison of the two wines. So I arranged my own private taste test.

The set-up: Two identical shot glasses, marked on the bottom. I filled each glass with the two different apple ice wines and then had someone else mix them up so I would not know which was which. And then I did the same for my drinking companion.

Both wines looked the same so I could not differentiate them by their color. I then tasted both wines, trying to detect their differences. To my surprise, they were nearly identical in taste except that one may have been slightly tarter than the other. My drinking companion came to the same conclusion, except felt that the other wine was slightly tarter. We both agreed though that the wines tasted essentially the same. I have tasted the two together a couple more times since then, comparing and contrasting them again, and with the same results.

So does that mean the Battle Royale was a tie? No, it does not because there are other factors, besides their similar taste, to consider. First, there is price. The Apfel Eis is $24.99 but the Neige ranges from $27-$30. As the Apfel is less expensive, it gains a bonus. Second, the Apfel is made locally in Massachusetts as opposed to Neige which is from Canada. If you are concerned about buying locally, or supporting local companies, then the Apfel gains another bonus.

So, weighing in those other factors, I consider the Winner to be the Apfel Eis.

As I have previously successfully paired the Neige with various apple desserts, then I have no question that the Apfel Eis would do equally as well with such desserts. I have also recently paired with Apfel Eis with various cheeses, crackers and agave nectar. It paired very well with the cheeses, especially the firmer ones like Manchego though it was delicious with Cheddar too. So instead of pairing a white or red wine with your cheese plate, why not consider the Apfel Eis instead?

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