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iStock_000016538312LargeWhatever the weath­er, there’s no great­er dessert than ice cream. As two of my favour­ite things, I have, on occa­sion, spilt a bit of wine into my ice cream to see how it tastes. This has usu­ally ended up as a dis­ap­point­ing sci­entif­ic exper­i­ment. So, hav­ing the oppor­tun­ity to try some wine-infused ice cream cre­ated on a far more pro­fes­sion­al level by Wel­ling­ton artis­an savoury ice-cream pro­du­cer Scream-Licious, I jumped at the chance. Not only was it well, deli­cious, but the exper­i­ence reminded me of how vital it is to enjoy your wine at the right temperature.

I’ve been to many wine tast­ings where the sound of pens fan­at­ic­ally scratch­ing details of per­ceived taste, fla­vour, bal­ance and fin­ish is pal­pit­ated by the quiet chink of glasses, and the gentle ping of the spit­toon. Whilst an ice-cream tast­ing con­siders the same prin­ciples as a wine tast­ing, it is by far a more lip-smack­ing exper­i­ence, made all the bet­ter by the neces­sity to swal­low in order to truly appre­ci­ate it.

The most sig­ni­fic­ant hindrance of an ini­tial impres­sion when tast­ing ice cream is the lack of aroma and, there­fore, fla­vour. This presents a per­fect oppor­tun­ity to describe the dif­fer­ence between taste and fla­vour when tast­ing wine: most people con­fuse the two.

            Taste is a chem­ic­al sense per­ceived by recept­or cells that make up taste buds. It is best explained by the five senses of sweet, spice, sour, salt and umami. Fla­vour is a more eclect­ic fusion of mul­tiple senses. To per­ceive fla­vour, the brain inter­prets taste and, more import­antly, olfact­ory (smell) as well as tact­ile and thermal sen­sa­tions. Because it is cold, ice cream does not smell very strong until its aro­mat­ic com­pounds can volat­il­ise and reach the nose as it warms. Hence the need to macer­ate, swal­low and allow the aroma esters to hit the all-import­ant olfact­ory glands from with­in the mouth.

Addi­tion­al to fla­vour, the sens­ory impres­sion of a food (or any sub­stance) is changed by the pro­cess that it has under­gone. One chal­lenge to pro­du­cing a wine-fla­voured ice cream is that the alco­hol res­ists freez­ing and the pro­cess of freez­ing changes fla­vours, so it is not just a mat­ter of pour­ing half a cup of wine into your mix. Infus­ing the mix with addi­tion­al ingredi­ents such as chamo­mile and spiced apple is import­ant to enable all fla­vours to integ­rate, provid­ing com­pos­i­tion, length and fin­ish. It’s also neces­sary to con­sider the type of wine that is being used. My favour­ite in a line-up of white wine examples was Sauvign­on Blanc. The nat­ur­al acid­ity of this grape pro­duced lovely tingly lem­on­grass and cit­rus fla­vours that both com­pli­men­ted and provided con­trast to the high but­ter fat and savoury ingredi­ents of the ’scream.

So here is the ‘wine’ advice this column offers this month: don’t have your wine too cold. If fla­vour is, in fact, smell, and your glass is all fros­ted with con­dens­a­tion because the wine is too chilled, you’re not going to get the max­im­um aroma or fla­vour out of your $13.50 glass. Exper­i­ment. For me, a red should not be cold to the touch, and whites should be out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes before you pour.

Scream-Licious artis­an ice creams are sold exclus­ively through


September Wine Recommendation

Big S 09 Sav b


Big Sky Sauvign­on Blanc 2012


As much as Sauvign­on Blanc has bang for your buck, it is often dom­in­ated by acid­ity. This is where Mar­tin­bor­ough offers per­fect lower-acid examples with plenty of oomph. The Big Sky Sauvign­on Blanc dis­plays lovely cit­ric-oil char­ac­ters, with spicy lem­on­grass and a hint of mint. Dry and stony on the fin­ish, with a bit (but not too much) of a chill, this wine resembles a kaf­fir lime sorbet.





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