If you have expensive underwear, this one is for you. You know that you should be handwashing those things, right?
Why not make an event of it? Collect all of your pretty bits and do what The Laundress tells you to do. You will feel like a grown up. Responsible.
In my mind, you are doing this in the daylight and the sun is streaming in through your windows.
Now that you are done, the perfect pairing with this sort-of-fun job is an icewine. It is an acceptable form of daydrinking because you can really only have a couple of sips.
Here is a suggestion:
There is a good reason that Canadian Icewines are famous around the world. At their best they are sweet but balanced with some acidity and complex flavours. The one pictured above is from Mt. Boucherie Winery here in the Okanagan Valley. It is Merlot based. The wines produced by the strict Icewine procedure retain some characteristics of their grape variety. For example, a Merlot Icewine will have some cherry, may have caramel, or chocolate elements and will likely be a rosy or coppery hue.
A Chardonnay Icewine will be golden and may taste of apricots, honey and have a creamy nuttiness.
Here is their description of the Mt. Boucherie Icewine ($80): Aromas of black cherry, honey and toffee, caramel, currants, and spice. The lesser Icewines have less complex flavours. And fake Icewine will taste something like a sugar-water simple syrup. If it tastes grape juicy at all, it is probably not authentic. Yes, there fake Icewines. Since they are so expensive they can be a prestigious gift and an easy way to make a profit.
In fact, if you think that Icewine is awful, it might be that you have tried a fake Icewine. There is a lively trade in pretend Icewine. China has been targetted especially. Here is an article in Wine Spectator for your further reading if you are interested.
Making Icewine is a big commitment and risk for the grape growers and winemakers. This video shows a bit of the Okanagan Valley and can serve as an introduction to the Icewine process.
If you are going to start an Icewine journey, I would recommend that you spend the extra buck. Go for the $50 – $80 bottle.
What happens to wine that misses the Icewine mark? The standards of production are almost impossibly high. For example, what happens if your grapes thaw out before they get to be pressed? Now it can’t be Icewine.
It might be marketed as a Late Harvest or Dessert Wine. That just dropped the price by half but you know that either the Vineyard did not want to take the risk of producing an Icewine and were aiming for a Late Harvest wine or something slipped. Either way, a Late Harvest wine is often lovely and shares many flavour characteristics with a similar varietal Icewine.
Here is a Paradise Ranch Late Harvest Merlot. It retails for around $20. It will share many of the tasting notes with the Mt. Boucherie Merlot Icewine. It will likely be less dense and less complex, perhaps also less aromatic. That being said, I am generalizing because to know these things one would have to taste them back to back and I have not done that. General rule: a good Late Harvest is sweet, complex and delicious.