Why is Ice Wine Special?

by on March 7th, 2015
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Two years ago my wife and I went on a tour of Canada. While we were there, we first heard about ice wine. Now I have heard about people freezing wine by mistake and still consuming it. But, I had never heard of processed ice wine. This article looks at ice wine and why it is so special.

According to winesofcanada.com, ice wine is a magical gift of a cold winter night. Each frozen grape creates just one precious drop of wine. It is a smooth, rich and luxurious drop of wine. Canada’s Niagara area has hot summers and cold winters that is just right for ice wine. The grapes are harvested at -10 to -13 degrees Celsius. Harvest is done strictly by hand. The juice is about one fifth of the harvest for regular wines.

What makes ice wine so good is the high sugar content. Ice wine was accidentally discovered in Germany in 1794. However, it wasn’t until the 1800s that it was produced. The freezing and thawing of grapes dehydrates the fruit. This places a concentration on the sugars, acids and extracts inside the fruit. This process intensifies the flavor of the ice wine. The juice is then fermented slowly over several months. Unlike many wines, that takes years of aging, ice wine doesn’t take that long. However, the process can’t be sped up.

On a personal note, when we toured Canada, I observed miles and miles of vineyards in the Toronto – Niagara area. I have never thought of Canada as a wine producer.

The price of ice wine was very expensive. This is because of the way it is prepared. It takes five times more grapes through this special process. Typical grapes used to make ice wine are Vidal Blanc, Riesling Seyval Blanc and the red grape Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc produces a pink like colored wine.

What makes ice wine so special is that when it is swallowed, it is vividly refreshing. It creates a unique sensation for the palate. It is best when served chilled, but not cold. An open bottle will last 3 to 5 day. After the fifth day, it will start losing it’s taste. Ice wine is often referred to as dessert in a glass.

The cost of ice wine varies. Half bottles start at about $40 for a half bottle. You can get up to date information at wine.com.

sources; Wines of Canada.com

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