Ice wine, most famously produced in Canada, is about as sweet as wine gets. This is because it is made from grapes that were naturally frozen while still on the grapevine. Allowing grapes to freeze while still on the vine will only freeze the water condensed within the grape.
When you hear the term "Ice Wine" or see the German word "Eiswein," you think of dessert wine. Ice wine, most famously produced in Canada, is about as sweet as wine gets. This is because it is made from grapes that were naturally frozen while still on the grapevine. Allowing grapes to freeze while still on the vine will only freeze the water condensed within the grape. It's usual for grapes to freeze, thaw, and then freeze again near the conclusion of the growing season. When this happens, the flavour profile and complexity of the grape growth. Sugars and other polyphenol chemicals within will not freeze, and their concentration increases substantially once the water is removed. Ice wine is legendary for its sweetness.
Ice wine is a dessert wine that is sweet. It is, in fact, one of the sweetest wines available, yet the strong sweetness is offset by lots of sparkling acidities. Ice wine made from white grapes preserves a freshness on the palate despite the rich tastes of honey, citrus, stone fruit like peach and dried apricot, and juicy tropical fruits like mango. Red grape ice wine includes berry aromas like strawberry and mild spice. Both can have a floral scent and a long, silky sweet finish, and they are low in tannins. Ice wine's exact attributes will vary widely based on the grape varietals utilised and the process. Some ice wines are aged in oak barrels to add depth.
Production of ice wine
When the grapes are ready for harvest, they are de-stemmed and pressed while remaining naturally frozen. Before the fermentation process begins, the extremely concentrated sweet grape juice is squeezed out and separated from the frozen water. Because the sugar level is so high, much of it is not converted to alcohol, or the fermentation is stopped before bottling, it is normal for Ice Wine to not reach an alcohol percentage of 12% near the end of fermentation.
Ice wine is excellent on its own as a sweet sip, and it may also be matched with certain items that you'd normally enjoy at the conclusion of a meal. Pair with brie or mild goat cheese, or with simple vanilla sweets like yoghurt panna cotta, sour cream pound cake, or ice cream.
Grapes used for ice wine
The most frequent grapes used to make Ice Wine are Vidal, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. These varietals are inherently more acidic, which helps balance the wine and makes it less syrupy when it's finished. Other cultivars being experimented with by New World winemakers include Seyval Blanc, Pinot Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Why is it called "Liquid Gold"?
Old grapes cannot be used to make Ice wine because it needs grapes that can endure the freezing temperatures to produce the strong texture and alluring yellow-pinkish tint that gives it its nickname, "Liquid gold."