Neil Duarte's Vino e Cucina d'Italia

Wine Ice Cream . . . Really!

Since July is National Ice Cream month, I thought that I would digress somewhat from my emphasis on things Italian and look at an offering that I recently was made aware. Though alcoholic flavored ice cream is not uncommon in parts of Europe, I had not seen such an ice cream here in the U. S. Thus, I was surprised several when months ago I was contacted by Mr. Washington Sauerbronn, the West Coast distributor for Mercer's Ice Cream, a dairy in Boonville, NY that produces wine ice cream ( Mr. Sauerbronn kindly offered to provide samples of the six flavors of wine ice cream produced by Mercer's.

With the assistance of Mercer's President, Dalton Givens, samples of the six wine ice creams offered by Mercer's were sent to me. These flavors include: White Peach Zinfandel, Ala Port, Royal White Riesling, Red Raspberry Chardonnay, Chocolate Cabernet and Cherry Merlot. All are described on the Mercer web site.

My curiosity aroused, I decided that a more realistic tasting in comparison to the actual wines themselves would be accomplished by a panel consisting of wine drinkers of varying levels of knowledge. The tasting was done on three separate occasions by a total of eight different individuals, male and female.

The results of the various taste tests were that in general the various fruit flavors overpowered the wine, especially in the White Peach Zinfandel, Cherry Merlot and Red Raspberry Chardonnay. Second, though the alcohol taste was there, especially in the aftertaste, no one could identify the taste as a specific wine. Last, the chocolate bits in the Chocolate Cabernet also overpowered the wine taste.

Most of the tasters favored the Ala Port, Royal White Riesling and Red Raspberry Chardonnay. However, all of the ice creams were very good. Unfortunately, however enjoyable they were, at least in the opinions of the tasters, the various wine signatures were not decipherable.

Since my sample was hardly large enough to be a defining test, and a similar test among your friends would be a good summer enjoyment, I suggest you look for Mercer's Wine Ice Creams. It is available in some Whole Foods stores and other specialty food stores. Let me know if you can taste the individual wines.

July 2010

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