Peter Ranscombe tastes Rebel Pi, the dessert wine created by Jackie Fast, star of BBC One television series The Apprentice.
ANYONE who’s watched the current series of The Apprentice on the gogglebox will be familiar with Jackie Fast.
With her direct business style and oodles of energy, the Canadian entrepreneur has already made her mark on the show in just a few short weeks.
Having sold her Slingshot Sponsorship agency to The Marketing Group in 2016, Fast went on to write a book about her success.
What viewers may not realise though is that Fast is also making an impression in the drinks industry too.
Her latest venture is Rebel Pi, an ice wine made using grapes grown in her native Canada.
Ice wine is a very special product – it’s made using grapes that aren’t harvest during the autumn like other fruit but instead are left on the vine into the winter, so the water inside the berries freezes.
Once the ice is extracted, the juice that’s left behind is super-sweet because there’s less water left to dilute its sugars.
Fast’s wine is even more special because it’s made using roussanne, a white grape variety usually found in the Rhone Valley in France, which is very rarely made into dessert wine, let alone ice wine.
Indeed, it’s being marketed as the world’s only roussanne ice wine.
The grapes harvested for Rebel Pi come from a single vineyard – known as the “dirty dozen” because it contains 12 varieties – and turned into wine by Pentage, a family-owned winery in Okanagan.
Those unique characteristics come at a price – £139 for a half-bottle to be precise, which puts Rebel Pi up there with the cost of Chateau d’Yquem, arguably the world’s most-famous sweet wine, made using semillon and sauvignon blanc in the Sauternes area of Bordeaux in France.
But, the big question is, what does it taste like?
The short answer is – it’s tasty.
I love roussanne to begin with, and I was fascinated to see how it transformed into an ice wine.
The 2016 Rebel Pi Roussanne Ice Wine (£139 for 375ml, rebelpi.com) has lots of peach, apricot, apple and honey notes on the nose, which lead into sweet vanilla on the palate.
Roussanne’s naturally-crisp acidity comes shining through, balancing the sweetness of the fruit and delivering a fresh finish.