Most have heard of it, but never truly understood it completely. The mystical Ice Wine.
There is a lot of debate about the origin of Ice Wine. Some claim it was first created in France in the 18th century, where some claim it happened in the 19th century in Germany. Regardless of the country or time period, IceWine has been one of the most loved wines in the world. Its intense concentration and the interesting concept has people all across the globe in admiration.
The process of making Ice Wine
The process of making Ice Wine is a daunting, yet, extremely intriguing one. The risk of creating Ice Wine is huge and leaves winemakers with the possibility of potentially losing everything. When it comes to making Ice Wine, the wine is left on the vines until the temperature drops below freezing and creates frost on the grapes. A day or two after, the rock-hard grapes are picked and pressed. However, after the berries are ripe, the rotting susceptibility is huge – and it could potentially rot of the frost doesn’t happen in time.
Once the grapes are harvested, all the water inside the berries are frozen, and all that is left, is the sweet, sugary syrup inside – and that is what is extracted once the grapes are pressed. Although the resulting liquid is minimal, this concentrated liquid is golden and delicious.
When it comes to the actual varietals involved in this process, only grapes that have a firm skin can withstand this torment. This is why only certain grapes can be used – namely Gewurtztraminer, Merlot, Chenin blanc, Riesling and Vidal Blanc.
Considering the wine needs frost on the actual vines to occur for Ice Wine to be produced, only countries like Germany, France, Austria, USA, and Canada can produce these wines. There are, however, many wine producers that work around these steps and produce imitated Ice Wine. Instead of allowing frost to occur on the vines, these producers harvest these grapes and then set in artificial frost. It is important to note that this is no the correct method and the resulting wine will not compare to the real product.
The flavour of Ice Wine
Ice Wine is notably sweet, and the sugar content makes it a great wine to age. Many people consider Ice Wine a great investment since some wines age well for decades and improve greatly with this aging.
The common flavours of Ice Wine range from rich, bright tropical fruit, to more concentrated peach, melon and apricot flavours. The underlying flavour, however, that tends to follow through with most Icewines, is the intense honey flavour.
When it comes to food pairing, Ice Wine is not just a great wine to pair with desserts but is also an amazing wine to use inside or on top of actual dessert. Opt to pair it with desserts that don’t match its sweetness – so any cheese, fruit or dark chocolate desserts are amazing companions. This dessert-wine is also great for pouring over any sponge-based desserts or even over ice-cream.
Whether the idea is to consume the wine immediately or keep the Ice Wine for years, it is something worth trying, and definitely, a wine that will have you indulged.