Dissolve the sugar in the wine with the saffron in a small pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the pears to the pan and coat them with the liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer gently, spooning the liquid over the pears from time to time until the pears become tender, around 20-25 minutes. Remove the pears and transfer to a serving bowl.
Next, vigorously boil the poaching liquid until it has reduced by half and is thick and syrupy.
When the syrup has cooled, pour over the pears and serve with vanilla ice cream.