What is ice wine?
Have you heard about ice wine? I have and I want to tell you about it! What is ice wine? Wine Folly has dubbed it “one of the sweetest mistakes nature has ever made.”
I feel like this cold weather has really set the mood these day’s, so this Wine Wednesday is dedicated to you guessed it. Ice, ice, wine, baby.
Child of the 90’s here. Can’t be helped.
It’s a Canadian thing
Being Canadian usually means that you’ve probably had this super sweet, almost syrupy wine. Introduced by an aunt, who probably brought it around some Christmas and you were oddly compelled by it.
Want to know how Canadian this process really is? Well, Wayne Gretzky had a limited edition ice wine, that’s just how Canadian. If you don’t know who he is. He’s known as “The Great One” in hockey.
Another Canadian-ism I’ve seen at my local liquor store is maple ice wine. Because it needs a bit more Canadian-ness. Very Canadian. Eh? Eh!
But what is ice wine?
Basically, ice wine is a sweet, concentrated wine. Very concentrated. Icewine is made from grapes which have frozen on the vine.
I guess you could look at it as, the winemakers here in Canada needing to find something to do with the grapes that froze because either frost came too soon, or they just didn’t get around to them soon enough.
Certainly not a palate cleanser, ice wine is very much a dessert wine.
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How do they do it?
But what makes it so sweet? Well… The only thing about the grape that actually freezes is the water content. That means that the sugars stay, which makes a very concentrated product. The syrup-like viscosity is achieved from the high sugar content.
Some may say it’s sickeningly sick. I, personally, am one of them. But some people truly like them. To give you an idea, multiply the sweetness of coca cola by two. That sweet.
Crazy fact. Since the grapes are frozen, only 15% of what is harvested is yielded from the batch. That’s much smaller than your typical table wine. Which is a reason as to why it’s pricey and in such skinny, little bottles. How pricey? Just expect to spend at least $30 for one of those tiny, slender 375ml bottles, if they’re from the US or Austria. $50+ of you’re looking for a Canadian one.
Who else makes it?
Aside from Canada, which is the world’s top producer, you can get ice wine from the United States, Germany, and Austria.
You can’t fake this process. An “iced wine” or “dessert wine” is made from a commercially frozen harvest. This is a painstaking process. Because of the temperature needed for a perfect product, winemakers will often be harvested at night. How cold does it need to be? Sub Zero. Yep. Grab your Uggs and Canadian goose jackets.
So, next time you’re wanting to try something new, maybe consider ice wine! Wine not right? Just keep in mind that they can usually only age for about 10 years tops.
Have you tried ice wine before? I’d love to know which one and what you thought! Leave your feedback in the comments below.
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