Monday, April 30, 2012

An Evening of Ice Wines and Seasonal Desserts at Finale

When I received an invitation to attend an ice wine and dessert pairing at Finale, I immediately accepted. Ice wine is a guilty pleasure of mine, one in which I rarely indulge due to the relatively high price of even a small bottle. It’s an expensive product due to the process: the grapes used in ice wine are frozen while on the vine, allowing for a much more concentrated sweet wine - but in a much smaller quantity.

At this event, we were given the opportunity to taste a 2006 Jackson Triggs Vidal (Niagara, Canada), a 2009 Renwood Amador Ice Wine (California), a 2006 Selaks Marlborough (New Zealand), a 2009 Cooper Mountain Vin Glace (Willamette Valley, Oregon), and a 2006 Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine (Niagara, Canada). While I found every wine to be exceptionally sweet and delicious, it’s the last one that I pounced on when our table divvied up a missing guest’s glasses.

After living near the Finger Lakes for five years, I was hoping to see a New York wine or two - upstate New York produces some fantastic ice wines - but Niagara is not too far off.

Finale’s Executive Chef Nicole Coady presented each wine and dessert and described how she figured out the pairings. The Jackson Triggs was paired with Finale’s signature cheesecake, and the next three wines were paired with a strawberry frangipane tart, key lime tart, and lemon tart respectively. We ended with a spoonful of a creme brulee with the Inniskillin. While all pairings worked well, the first was probably my favorite; the texture and flavor of the cheesecake was exquisite. (One of the secrets to the flavor is the type of vanilla. Chef Coady launched into an extended discussion of the merits of different types of vanilla, such as Madagascar or Mexican. I might be remembering this incorrectly, in which case my cheesecake will never be this delicious, but I believe it’s Mexican vanilla that she uses in Finale’s cheesecake.)

Each of the tarts was enjoyable, particularly the key lime and lemon, but they seemed a bit redundant. I would have loved to try some non-tart desserts, maybe something chocolate. The final bite, the creme brulee, was the weak spot; the texture was a bit off, and the presentation didn’t allow for the best part of eating creme brulee, breaking the torched sugar crust.

Overall, I found the event to be educational, fun, and most importantly, delicious. Finale puts on similar events several times a year, usually at a cost of $30 per person. The next event will be a craft beer and dessert pairing on May 8th and May 15th. (One of the beers on the docket is Aventinus, a personal favorite of mine.) Visit for more information about this event and other upcoming events.

Finale on UrbanspoonSee my favorite dishes on Tasted Menu
Disclosure: I received a comped ticket to this event. Nevertheless, all opinions expressed are my own.

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