I've spent lots of time in Canada in my travels across the universe, having lived only 60 miles from the Ontario border during most of my first 175 years. Canada is a magnificent country amid its sheer expanse alone—Halifax, for example, is closer to London than to Vancouver, B.C., and the Northwest Territories are so vast and formidable that they don't even have a cool name or anything. And for better or worse, the nation's chilly climate drives a top-heavy percentage of its commerce; about 80 percent of the people live within 100 miles of the U.S. border.
No wonder, then, that Canada would perfect something called vin glace, or ice wine, the country's inimitable contribution to the world's elite viticulture. For your money, there's no better example of this than the 2006 Vidal entry from Jackson-Triggs Vintners, out of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Ice wine is extracted from grapes that incubate on the vine during the harsh Canadian winters (the cold temps act aggressively on the sugars during periods of frost and thaw); the result is a much, much sweeter beverage than you're used to. It makes a great dessert entry by itself—if you pair it with food, make sure the edibles are far less sweet than the wine, lest you defeat the purpose of your feast. Heavy cheeses make some of the best sides with this guy.
“For your money” is the operative phrase here. The ice wine manufacture process is devilishly expensive, and you know who usually winds up paying for that (some vintners get away with a $375-per-bottle price tag). The Jackson-Triggs fare, however, can be yours for an anemic $19.99 a bottle at better wine stores. America's Frosted Hat is too big to get your arms around, but some of its exports beat the hell out of hockey and, especially, Celine Dion.