My brother in law who is a chef gave me a bottle of something called Icewine. It's a small bottle(200ml) and it says it's from Peller Estate in Canada. I've never heard of icewine before. It has no vintage year.
anyone kind enough to educate me?
That is bizarre that it lacks any indication of vintage on the label. It should also indicate a varietal. Does it list Vidal, Riesling or Cabernet Franc on the label? This will help us narrow things down for you...
Icewine in Canada is made in a similar fashion to Germany's Eiswein. The grapes are allowed to freeze naturally and I believe the temperature must be at least -8C before harvesting. Sugar levels are considerably higher than in Eiswein however.
Edit to add:
Does it have a "VQA" seal anywhere on the neck? If it does, it should indicate varietal and vintage.
I'm going to take your question at face value and explain that ice wine is a dessert wine made from grapes that have frozen while still on the vine.
For a more complete definition: Wikipedia says "is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine."
They can be vintage or non-vintage, though most I've seen do carry a vintage year.
Your icewine is from the Niagara peninsula in Ontario. As others have mentioned, if white it is most likely made from Vidal or Riesling grapes. If red it's Cabernet Franc--my personal favorite. Peller is one of the early Canadian icewine producers. Chill it and drink it as a capstone to your next holiday meal. Good stuff.
There is also a new product making the rounds called Ice Syrup. It is made from a distillate of the must left from either Vidal or Cab Franc gapes after making the ice wine. Used in cooking to accent taste, the syrup is typically paired with salty cheeses, strawberries, chocolate, etc. Not widely available though. Ice syrup is a Canadian product from the Niagra-Waterloo area.
To add to what others have said:
When you thank your BiL remember that icewine is very expensive, the bottle may be small but it costs more than you think :)
The Peller website has more information on icewines and a video about how it's made -- http://www.pellericewine.com/index.html