Ice wines are becoming more and more popular as a sweet option. Many are made are from white grapes, but there are a few made from red grapes.
These are created by leaving the grapes on the vine until they are frozen and then removing them for production. Canada has the perfect climate for making them and has a number of wineries that produce it.
Some of the best on the market today are the Canadian ice wines. It's usually a lighter bodied sweet one with hints of different types of fruit including peaches, apricots and other citrus fruits.
One that is labeled as an ice wine means that it is naturally sweetened and does not contain any added sugars. In Canada, the grapes must stay on the vine until the temperature dips below 18° F (-7° C).
This process freezes the water in the grapes which increases the concentration of sugar in the grapes. This is where they get their sweet taste.
Once the grapes are ready, they are typically harvested before sunrise in order to ensure they are still frozen. The production process begins quickly after they are picked to avoid any chance that the grapes may thaw out.
The harvest schedule for these is also very late in the season and they are usually harvested during the colder late fall/early winter months. I've even read that some are harvested toward the end of December or in early January.
Here are some of my recommendations:
|Inniskillin Winery||Cabernet Franc||Hints of strawberries and cream|
|Jackson Triggs Winery||Cabernet Franc||Raspberries, rhubarb and hints of pepper & spice|
|Nine North Winery||Jaden Pinot Noir||Strawberry, rhubarb and caramel|
|Renwood Winery||Zinfandel||Raspberries, cherries & strawberries|
Even though Canada seems to have the market right now, Austria and Germany are also now producing these. In Europe, they are typically called "Eiswein".
These two countries, along with Canada, agreed on following the same process to make these. All of them allow the grapes to freeze on the vine vs. freezing them off the vine in an indoor temperature controlled environment.
Many other countries and wine regions use this second method since it keeps the grapes away from issues such as animals eating the grapes from the vines. Leaving the grapes to freeze on the vines also makes harvesting challenging as pickers pick them in freezing cold temperatures.
It's easy to pair these with nice desserts. They are usually pretty light and will not clash with most desserts.
Try pairing your ice wine with a nice creme brulee. They also pair well with lighter desserts made with fruits such as as pies or tarts.
You just won't want to pair it with any desserts that are sweeter than the wine itself. This takes away from its flavors.
Since they are sweet, you will want to chill yours a little before serving. I recommend serving them at around 54° F (12° C).
You also want to pour just a little of this when serving. Most people recommend pouring around 2 or 3 ounces - instead of the regular 5 ounces for standard pours.
Overall, the ones made from a red varietal tend to be rare and are more expensive than those made from a white varietal. It is much harder to produce reds due to the sensitivity of the red grapes. However, if you are able to get your hands on one, they will not disappoint.
Find these and other ice wine online today!
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