Ice Wine 101: Everything You Need To Know About Canada’s Sweetest Sip
Ice wines are a relatively new phenomenon in the world of viticulture — or, at least, they appear to be. Back in ancient Rome, a writer named Pliny the Elder recommended that some grape varietals should not be picked until the first frost had come. In addition, the poet Martial advocated that grapes be kept on the vine until November, or until they became stiff from cold, whichever came first. However, whether or not the Romans were on to something remains a matter of debate, but one thing is certain: Canadian winemakers are following their lead and allowing their grapes to be exposed to the elements — and the results have been nothing short of remarkable.
What Is Ice Wine?
Ice wine is a highly sweet wine that’s typically given with dessert or at the conclusion of a meal to complement the sweetness of the dessert. It is prepared from grapes that have frozen on the vine, which occurs when the ambient temperature reaches 17.6 degrees Celsius (or below). Winemakers harvest and press the grapes while they are still frozen, in order to prevent the grapes from thawing and spoiling the finished product. Only the highly concentrated juice is extracted from the frozen berries, leaving behind the cold water crystals and resulting in a product with a strong taste.
However, it is the extent of the freedom available.
Because it is such a well controlled procedure, customers can be confidence in what they are purchasing.
Flavor And Pairings
Ice wine is very sweet – almost too sweet to drink. In fact, it has almost double the sweetness of a soda pop. A little goes a long way when it comes to beauty products! In order to accommodate this, ice wine is frequently packaged in smaller bottles than standard wine bottles. Half-size bottles and gift bottles containing as little as 1.7 ounces of product are popular options. Fruit and chocolate treats go well with ice wine, which has an incredibly sweet flavor that complements them. It can also be served on its own as a light dessert option in lieu of dessert.
When it comes to finger foods to accompany ice wine, nothing beats a cheese platter topped with figs, dark chocolate, honey, and just a touch of pate!
How Is Ice Wine Made?
It would be an understatement to say that creating ice wine is a difficult endeavor. After the grapes have reached maturity, a strong freeze is required to preserve the flavor of the wine. The ripening grapes remain on the vines for several months until the arrival of the winter months. During this period of inactivity, they are vulnerable to injury, decay, and invasions by birds and other creatures, among other things. Starlings, deer, and insects are all attracted to the grapes used to make ice wine, and they aren’t the only ones.
- Other times, the frost is too severe, and the grapes become worthless as a result.
- Grape preservation and climatic conditions are only a portion of the difficulty in growing grapes.
- Almost all winemakers select their grapes by hand, in a matter of hours, before pressing them in unheated facilities – all of this in the dead of winter!
- In many smaller vineyards, friends and relatives are recruited to help out, and in certain cases, urgent requests are made to the local community for aid.
A warm and delicious lunch, as well as wine gifts and a celebratory ambiance, are provided by the vineyard in exchange. Being a part of an ice wine harvest may be an immensely unforgettable experience if you aren’t frightened of hard work and have strong, warm boots and cold clothes.
Who Makes Ice Wine?
Canada is the world’s leading producer of ice wine, accounting for more than half of global production. In fact, Canada produces more ice wine than any of the other countries put together! Germany and Austria rank in second and third place, respectively, and there are little ice wine enterprises in a number of other nations, including the United States, Italy, and Japan, according to the International Ice Wine Association. Canada’s Okanagan Valley was the site of the country’s first ice wine production, which took place in 1972.
Since then, Ontario has established itself as the uncontested global leader in the manufacturing of ice wine.
It is estimated that the region of Niagara-on-the-Lake alone is responsible for 60 percent of all ice wine produced in Canada.
In all, 96 wineries in Canada are involved in the production of ice wine.
Notable Producers Of Ice Wine
Inniskillinis the most well-known brand of ice wine in the world. They were the first in the world to commercially produce ice wine, and if you’ve ever seen Canadian ice wine on the market outside of Canada, there’s a high chance it came from Inniskillin’s cellars. There are more than 70 nations where their products are sold. Inniskillin manufactures ice wines from a variety of varietals, including vidal, riesling, gewurztraminer, and cabernet Franc, as well as sparkling ice wine. Visitors are welcome to stop by their vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake for tours and tastings.
- Image courtesy of Alva Angelica / Shutterstock.com Join the Greatest Vineyard Tour atPeller Estates Winery, which culminates with ice wine tastings in the winery’s igloo-inspired ice wine bar, which is located in the winery.
- The company, which was conceived by Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky, also dabbles in the production of beer, spirits, and classic wines, among other things.
- In addition to its cabernet Franc and vidal ice wines, Between The Lines Winery now offers a wine tasting with cheese and charcuterie.
- Art tours, yoga tours, and starlit tours are just a few of the immersive experiences that they provide.
- Tours, tastings, and trips to their sensory garden are all available to guests.
- In a converted 1940s fruit cannery, Strawn Winery makes a range of wines, among them cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Vidal ice wine.
- Photograph courtesy of eskystudio / Shutterstock.com The Ice House Winery, as the name indicates, is a winery that specialized in ice wine.
Their ice wine products, as well as their ice wine slushie kits, are made from grapes such as merlot, vidal, riesling, cabernet Franc, and gewurztraminer, among others.
There’s a wood-fired pizza restaurant on the premises, and the dessert menu includes a list of ice wine alternatives, which is rather unique!
You may try them out on a winery tour, at the winery’s restaurant, or at one of the numerous culinary events the winery hosts throughout the year.
Jackson-Triggs claims to be Canada’s most awarded winery, and it’s likely that they’re correct in their claim.
Jackson-Triggs, one of the oldest and largest Niagara wineries, is a pioneer in the promotion of Canadian wines and devotes just as much time and effort to the production of ice wines.
One of Ontario’s premier concert venues, their estate amphitheater mixes together music and wine in a unique setting.
How Do You Know You’re Trying The Real Deal?
Ice wines should be purchased with caution, and the labels should be carefully examined. When used in conjunction with the words “ice wine,” “icebox wine,” and “iced wine,” they don’t necessarily refer to a real ice wine, but rather to a wine prepared from grapes that have been artificially frozen. It may still taste tasty, but you shouldn’t have to pay the high price associated with an actual ice wine for it. “Late harvest” wines, on the other hand, are real ice wines in their own right. When ice wine grapes are pressed a second time, this word is used to describe the process.
- If you chance to be in China around the time and are tempted to taste ice wine, you should reconsider.
- However, it is claimed that up to 50% of all ice wine consumed in China is forged.
- Real ice wines are bottled in the same way as other wines, and the name of the vineyard and its address are clearly visible on the label.
- Hence, there is even more incentive to travel to a Canadian wine area and sample the real thing!
5 Types of Dessert Wine
Switch up the hefty dessert with something that will make your tastebuds glitter instead. Learn about the five primary varieties of dessert wines, ranging from the delightfully effervescent Moscato d’Asti to the dark and gloomy vintage Port of the world. Dessert wines are supposed to be sipped from tiny glasses and cherished in the same way that a fine Scotch is. Sparkling, light sweet, rich sweet, sweet red and fortified are the five varieties of dessert wines that may be found on the market.
Types of Dessert Wines
- Sweet Red Wine
- Fortified Wine
- Sparkling Dessert Wine
- Lightly Sweet Dessert Wine
- Richly Sweet Dessert Wine
A Guide to Dessert Wines
Dessert wines include sparkling dessert wines, lightly sweet dessert wines, richly sweet dessert wines, sweet red wines, fortified wines, and others.
Sparkling Dessert Wine
Dessert wines include sparkling dessert wines, lightly sweet dessert wines, richly sweet dessert wines, sweet red wines, fortified wines, and more.
- Demi-Sec* (which translates as “off-dry” in French)
- Amabile (which translates as “slightly sweet” in Italian)
- Semi Secco* (which translates as “off-dry” in Italian)
- French for “sweet,” Dolce / Dulce (Italian for “sweet,” Spanish for “sweet,” and Moelleux (French for “sweet,” for some French wines)
- Doux (French for “sweet,” Dolce / Dulce (Italian for “sweet,” Spanish for “sweet”)
*Not to be confused with the terms “sec” or “secco,” which are used to describe dryness in both French and Italian.
Lightly-Sweet Dessert Wine
Lightly sweet wines have a delightful sweetness to them, making them ideal for a hot afternoon. Many of these sweet wines go well with spicy dishes such as Indian or Southeast Asian cuisine, which is why they are so popular. Lightly sweet wines are best consumed as soon as possible after the vintage date, with the exception of a few exceptional examples, such as German Riesling, which may be savored for several years after the vintage date. Expect these wines to be bursting with fruit tastes and well-suited for desserts that are fruit-based or vanilla-driven.
Consider the wine Gewürztraminer, which is renowned for its fragrances of lychee and rose petals, among other things. Fruit tarts and a Gewürztraminer go together like peanut butter and jelly.
- Gewürztraminer Alsace, Alto-Adige (Italy), California, and New Zealand are all places where you may get this extremely flowery wine with modest alcohol content: Riesling Available in both dry styles (which are popular in Australia, Alsace, and the United States) and sweeter styles (which are more usually found in Germany). A wine with a high level of natural acidity, which helps to cut through the sweetness of the flavor
- Müller-Thurgau A less common type, also from Germany, that may be found in some regions of Oregon and has flowery scents and a little softer acidity than the other varieties. Porch wine is a classic and is especially good with sausages. Chenin Blanc is a white wine produced in France. When it comes to Chenin Blanc, a sweeter flavor is more frequent in the United States, although it is also produced in significant quantities in South Africa and France’s Loire Valley region. When purchasing Chenin Blanc, pay close attention to the label because many South African and French producers produce dry versions that taste more like a dry Sauvignon Blanc
- When purchasing Viognier, pay close attention to the label because many South African and French producers create dry versions that taste more like a dry Sauvignon Blanc
- The majority of the time, viognier is not sweet. However, because it is an aromatic grape type, you might occasionally encounter it in a fruit-driven style that smells like peaches and perfume. It has a thick, oily texture on the palate. This kind of Viognier may be found exclusively in Condrieu AOP (Rhône Valley) in France
- It is also known as “Condrieu Blanc.”
Richly Sweet Dessert Wine
With the best quality fruits and in an unfortified manner, these richly sweet wines are produced. Sugar and acidity allow many of these wines to retain their fresh flavor even after 50 years or more in the bottle. For example, the HungarianTokaji (pronounced “toe-kye”) was a favorite of the Tzars of Russia, while South African Constantia was a favorite of both the Dutch and the English. The FrenchSauternes was a favorite of Americans in the early 1800’s and is still popular today. There are numerous methods for producing highly sweet dessert wines, and you may gain a better understanding of them by looking at how they are prepared.
Late harvest refers to precisely what it says on the tin. With each additional day that grapes are allowed to hang on the vine, they get progressively sweeter and more raisinated, culminating in grapes with concentrated sweetness. “Vendage Tardive” is the term used in Alsace to describe late harvest, whereas “Spätlese” is used in Germany to describe late harvest. Late harvest wines can be made from any grape that has been left on the vine. Having said that, late-harvest wines made from Chenin Blanc, Sémillon, and Riesling grapes are becoming increasingly popular.
Noble rot is caused by a kind of spore known as Botrytis cinerea, which feeds on fruits and vegetables. Noble rot, despite the fact that it sounds (and seems) awful, imparts distinct notes of ginger, saffron, and honey to sweet wines. There are several different varieties of dessert wines derived from noble rot grapes that are widely available.
- Sauternais Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc are blended together in Sauternes, Barsac, Cadillac, and Monbazillac to produce a rich, golden-hued sweet wine. A collection of French Appellations in and around Bordeaux, including Sauternes, Barsac, Cadillac, and Monbazillac
- Tokaji Tokaji Asz is a Hungarian wine created from Furmint grapes
- Auslese, BA, and TBA Riesling (BA = Beerenauslese, TBA = Trockenbeerenauslese)
- And Auslese, BA, and TBA Riesling (BA = Beerenauslese, TBA = Trockenbeerenauslese). Auslese is the first level of the German Pradikat system (a sweetness labeling system), and it has a larger proportion of botrytis-affected grapes than any other level. In addition to being sweeter than German Rieslings from the “QbA” and “Kabinett” varieties, they often have a greater alcohol content.
The grapes are put out on straw mats to raisinate prior to being used in the winemaking process (also known as “Passito”).
- Italian Vin Santo is prepared from the grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia and has a rich, nutty taste that is similar to that of dates. It is possible to find various different types of Vin Santo produced throughout Italy. ‘Passito’ in Italian means ‘passion’. Another straw wine created from a variety of grapes, both white and red, this time with a fruity flavor. For example, Passito di Pantelleriais a Muscat-based wine, whereas Caluso Passitois a Piedmont-based wine created with the uncommon grapeErbaluce. Greek Straw Wines are made from grapes harvested in Greece. Vinsanto, created from high-acid white Assyrtiko grapes, is another type of wine produced in Greece. It is believed that Samos was the first sweet wine manufactured from Muscat grapes, while Commandaria was the first sweet wine made from grapes in Cyprus, dating back to 800 BCE. Strohwein (German: Strohwein/Austrian: Schilfwein) is a kind of wine produced in Germany and Austria. Schilfweins are sweet wines made from Muscat and Zweigelt grapes in Austria and Germany that are becoming increasingly rare. Vin de Paille is a French term for wine made from grapes. These Vin de Paille are produced mostly in the Jura area of France, which is next to the Alps, and are made from Chardonnay and old Savagnin grapes
- They are particularly well-known in the United States.
Ice Wine (Eiswein)
A nutty date-like taste characterizes this Italian wine, which is created from the grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia. A variety of Vin Santo types are produced throughout Italy; the most popular are: ‘Passito’ in Italian Once again, this straw wine is prepared from a variety of grapes, both white and red, to provide a complex flavor. Take, for example, the Muscat-based Passito di Pantelleria and the Caluso Passito, which is created with the rare Piedmont grapeErbaluce. Straw Wines from Greece Vinsanto, created from high-acid white Assyrtiko grapes, is another type of wine produced by Greece.
The German Strohwein (also known as the Austrian Schilfwein) is a kind of wine produced in Germany and Austria.
Vin de Paille is a French term that means “vineyard wine.” Known for being produced in the Jura area of France, which is near to the Alps, these Vin de Paille wines are made from grapes such as Chardonnay and old Savagnin; they are particularly popular in the United States.
Sweet Red Wine
Sweet reds are in decline, with the exception of commercially produced sweet reds.
It’s still possible to get some excellent sweet reds that are historically fascinating and worth tasting. The bulk of these incredible sweet red wines come from Italy, where they are made from obscure grape varieties.
- Lambrusco A area known for producing a delightful sparkling wine that can be enjoyed both dry and sweet. Because it is a sparkling wine, it will have a yeasty undertone, as well as notes of raspberry and blueberry in the background. “Amabile” and “Dulce” are the names given to the sweet variants. Brachetto d’Acqui (Acquisition Brachetto) A red or rosé wine made from Brachetto grapes grown in the Piedmont area that is both still and bubbling. Famous for its flowery and strawberry scents, as well as its love for matching with cured meats, this wine is a favorite of foodies everywhere. Schiava A uncommon cultivar from the Alto-Adige region that is on the verge of extinction. A delicious scent of raspberry and cotton candy, with a refreshing, somewhat sweet taste that isn’t overpowering
- Freisa Frieda, once considered one of the great red varietals of Piedmont, is a relative of Nebbiolo, but with softer tannins and flowery cherry aromas rather than the latter. Recioto della Valpolicella (Valpolicella Recioto) Recioto della Valpolicella is a luscious, robust, and rich wine that is produced using the same meticulous procedure as Amarone wine. Late-Harvest Red Wines are a specialty of the region. There are several red dessert wines available in the United States, created from grapes such as Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Malbec, and Petite Sirah, among others. With their intense sweetness and high alcohol concentration, these wines are a feast for the senses.
Fortified wines are produced by adding grape brandy to a wine, and they can be either dry or sweet in flavor. Most fortified wines have a higher alcohol level (often 17-20 percent ABV) and have a longer shelf life once they have been opened than other types of wines.
Port wine is produced in the northern region of Portugal, along the banks of the Douro. These extremely uncommon sweet red wines are prepared from a variety of classic Portuguese grapes, including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz, among others. After being harvested and placed in open tanks, the grapes are stomped daily as the wine begins to mature, which results in a more concentrated flavor. When the wine is filtered and combined with pure grape spirit (with an ABV of approximately 70%), the fermentation is stopped and the wine is fortified, this is done at a certain stage throughout the fermentation.
- Roughed-up RubyCrusted Port (sweet) Introducing Tawny Port, a kind of Port wine that has the aroma and flavor of newly minted port and is far less sweet than its counterpart. VintageLBV Port (VintageLBV Port) (sweet) Despite the fact that LBV and Vintage Port are produced in the same manner, LBV are intended to be consumed in their youth (owing to the sort of cork enclosure used) and vintage Ports are intended to be consumed after 20-50 years of ageing. Tawny Port is a port wine produced by the Tawny Port Company (very sweet) Tawny Port is aged in big oak casks and smaller wooden barrels at the winery, where the wine is produced. The longer the Tawny Port is let to age, the more nutty and figgy it becomes in flavor. The finest tawny is between 30 and 40 years old. wine made in the style of port sa.k.a. Vin Doux Naturel (Natural Wine) (sweet) Although port can only be produced in Portugal, numerous producers across the world produce port-style wines, such as Zinfandel ‘Port’ or Pinot Noir ‘Port’, which are similar to port. These wines are referred to as vin doux naturel (natural sweet wine) (see below).
Sherry is produced in the Spanish region of Andalusia. Palomino, Pedro Ximénez (a grape, not a person), and Moscatel grapes are used in the production of the wines. Wines are made from varied proportions of the three grapes and are intentionally oxidized in order to generate nutty aromatics in the final product.
- Andalusia, Spain is where sherry is produced. Palomino, Pedro Ximénez (a grape, not a person) and Moscatel grapes are used in the production of the wines. Three grape varieties are used in the production of the wines, which are then intentionally oxidized in order to acquire nutty aromatics.
Madeira is a type of wine produced on the island of Madeira, which is located in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, utilizing up to four distinct grape varieties. Madeira is distinct from other wines in that it is produced through a process that includes heating and oxidation – processes that would normally “ruin” a wine in the traditional sense. The end product is a full-bodied fortified wine with notes reminiscent of walnuts, saltiness, and an oiliness on the tongue. Because of the four distinct grapes that are utilized, Madeira wines range from dry to sweet, making them a great choice to serve with a meal or even as a pre-dinner drink before supper.
- RainwaterMadeira When a label just states “Madeira” or “Rainwater,” presume that it is a combination of all four grapes and that it is somewhere in the center of the sweetness spectrum. Sercial(dry) Sercial is the driest and lightest of all the grapes grown in Madeira, and it is also the most expensive. Typically, these wines will have greater acidity and be more dry, with hints of peaches and apricot in the bouquet. It is fairly rare to find Sercial Madeira that has been aged for more than 100 years. Verdelho(dry) When let to age, Verdelho will acquire nutty flavors of almond and walnut that will complement the citrus notes. Bual(sweet) It has a sweet flavor profile, with flavors of burned caramel, brown sugar, fig, rootbeer, and black walnut in the background. Although there are numerous well-aged 50-70-year-old Bual Madeira available, it is typical to find 10-year-old’medium’ (meaning: medium sweet) Bual Madeira. Malmsey(sweet) Malmsey Madeiras include orange citrus overtones and caramel to their taste, in addition to the oily oxidized nutty flavor that is characteristic of the region.
Vin Doux Naturel (VDN)
Vin Doux Naturel is produced in a similar manner as Port, with a base wine being produced and a neutral grape brandy being added at the end. The word vin doux naturel is derived from France, however this designation may be used to any wine from any country.
- A base wine is formed and completed with neutral grape brandy, much to how Port is prepared. Vin Doux Naturel is manufactured in a similar fashion to Port and is similar to Port. Although the name vin doux naturel is derived from France, this categorization may be used to any wine from any country.
Canadian Ice Wine – Still Only North of the Border
(Gerry Furth-Sides narrates) If absinthe makes a person’s heart grow fonder, Ice Wine makes a person’s heart grow warmer. And when both of these highly regarded spirits become more widely available in local stores and bars, they become even more valuable to consumers. Sophisticated In addition to its Stratford Shakespeare Festival, its treasure trove of multi-cultural cuisines, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the city of Toronto is gaining a reputation as a producer of quality wine on par with Niagara Falls’ icewine industry.
- So, what exactly is icewine (also known as Eiswein in German)?
- In addition, only healthy grapes remain in good condition until harvest, which in severe situations might occur beyond the New Year’s holiday season in Canada.
- Sugars and other dissolved substances do not freeze, but water does, allowing a more concentrated grape “must” to be extracted from the frozen grapes than would otherwise be possible.
- For natural ice wines to be produced, a precise hard freeze point must be reached about several months after the typical harvest.
- If the freeze is too extreme, there will be no juice to be obtained.
- The sad fact is that, unfortunately, the longer a harvest is delayed, the more fruit will be lost to wild animals as well as dropped fruit.
- Because of the high sugar content in the must, it ferments at a slower rate than typical (months as opposed to the customary days or weeks), necessitating the use of specific yeast strains.
Because of the limited quantities of wine that can be made as a result of the labor-intensive and sometimes hazardous production method, ice wines can be prohibitively expensive, and are typically sold in half-bottles of 375 mL or even 200 mL.
The second post-Roman reference of tobacco is in 1830, when commercial production began in Rheinhessen, Germany, indicating that it was not a huge success.
According to legend, some winegrowers left grapes on the vine after a particularly severe winter in order to use them as animal feed.
Voila, instant vino!
Fast forward to 1960, when the pneumatic bladder press (which looks exactly how it sounds) was designed, making mass production feasible.
When Inniskillin Wines was founded in 1975 by Karl Kaiser, a studious Austrian-born chemist, and Donald Ziraldo, a young Italian Canadian agricultural graduate, they became the first winery to be licensed in Ontario, Canada, since prohibition had ended in the United States.
By 1984, Kaiser had developed his first Icewine, which was met with national and then worldwide acclaim, including participation in highly regarded wine events such as Vinexpo and Vinitaly, as well as placement in some of the world’s most prestigious locations.
In 1991, Inniskillin’s Vidal Icewine made international headlines when it was awarded the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo in Bordeaux for its “astounding exquisite freshness,” according to the judges.
This was in response to a challenge by Canadian wine writer Konrad Ejbich, who had accidentally produced sparkling ice wine in his home cellar in 1988.
Everything you need to know about icewine
Geoffrey Furth-Sides is the author of this piece. If absinthe makes a person’s heart grow fonder, Ice Wine makes a person’s heart grow hot. Both of these highly coveted spirits are becoming increasingly popular as they are being launched into local stores and bars. Sophisticated Even though Toronto is still best known for its Stratford Shakespeare Festival, its treasure trove of multi-cultural cuisines, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the city’s local, fine vineyards are gaining a reputation for icewine on par with Niagara Falls’.
- Describe icewine (also known as Eiswein in German) and explain what it is.
- In addition, only healthy grapes remain in good condition until harvest, which in severe situations might occur after the New Year’s holiday here in Canada.
- When frozen, sugars and other dissolved solids are not affected, but water is, and this allows for a more concentrated grape “must” to be extracted from the frozen grapes.
- For natural ice wines to be produced, a precise hard freeze point must be reached about several months beyond the typical harvesting season.
- The juice will not be able to be removed if the freeze is severe enough.
- Inevitably, however, the longer harvesting is postponed, the more fruit will be lost to wild animals and fallen fruit.
- It takes months to ferment must because of its high sugar content, as opposed to the regular days or weeks.
A pleasant sweetness is complemented by strong acidity in the resultant more concentrated wine, which has a tingling, icy flavor.
According to Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – 79), frozen grapes have been used to create wine from the time of the Roman Empire.
The fact that anything happened at all was by chance.
They were crushed when it was discovered that the grapes were producing an extremely delicious must.
Vino with gelo a glacéo Take a step ahead to 1960, when the pneumatic bladder press (which looks exactly how it sounds) was developed, making mass production feasible.
Formed in 1975 by Karl Kaiser, an astute and hardworking Austrian-born chemist and Donald Ziraldo, a bright and energetic Italian-Canadian agricultural graduate, Inniskillin Wines became the first winery licensed in Ontario, Canada, since prohibition.
When Kaiser developed his first Icewine in 1984, it was met with national and worldwide acclaim, with participation in highly regarded wine events such as Vinexpo and Vinitaly as well as placement in some of the world’s most prestigious restaurants and venues.
Vinexpo in Bordeaux awarded Inniskillin’s Vidal Icewine the Grand Prix d’Honneur for its “astonishing exquisite freshness” in 1991, marking the winery’s worldwide debut.
This was in response to a challenge by Canadian wine writer Konrad Ejbich, who had accidentally produced sparkling ice wine in his home cellar in 1988 and had challenged the company to produce it commercially.
Ice Wine: The Fascinating Dessert Wine Everyone Must Try
Ice wine is a must-try for individuals who can’t get enough of dessert wine in their lives. This decadent wine, which was created in a completely unique manner, is the ideal way to cap off a special dinner. However, this delectable delicacy might be difficult to come by. Even while there are a plethora of wines on the market that claim to be ice wine, many of these are actually counterfeit. Winemakers must use old, labor-intensive winemaking procedures in order to produce a true ice wine that may be consumed.
What Is Ice Wine?
Ice wine, or “Eiswein” as it is known in its homeland of Germany, is a sweet wine prepared from frozen grapes that is served chilled. Ice wine is a dessert wine in every sense of the word; it has some of the highest quantities of sugar found in any wine on the globe. Ice wine grapes are selected for their naturally high acidity and aromatic character in order to produce a well-balanced wine. A sweet honey-like confection is produced as a result of this process. This wonderfully sweet dessert wine is a labor of love to make, as it is to consume.
- Prior to thawing, the grapes are crushed whole in a press to extract the juice.
- Icing wine is manufactured from a wide variety of grape varietals, including Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Gewurztraminer, among others.
- Ice wine is notoriously difficult to get by.
- Furthermore, although most wines are offered in 750-milliliter bottles, ice wines are sold in half bottles, which contain around 375 milliliters of liquid.
The Very First Ice Wine
Ice wine has a rich history, which you can read about here. According to legend, the creation of the first ice wine was a joyful accident. According to legend, during a particularly hard winter in the 18th century, several German winemakers decided to leave some grapes on the vine rather than harvest them. When the winemakers arrived to press the grapes, they discovered that they were frozen solid, but they proceeded with the sweet juice regardless of the conditions. The resultant wine was a success, and people praised the distinctive flavor of the frozen grapes, prompting the process to become widely used by the mid-1800s.
Despite the fact that the story has been called into question, we chose to trust this uplifting tale of overcoming adversity. When life offers you frozen grapes, make ice wine, according to the traditional proverb.
Where Is Ice Wine Produced?
While ice wine has its origins in Germany, Canada is by far the world’s leading producer. Ice wine is produced in Ontario because of the very cold temperatures that prevail in Eastern Canada throughout the winter months. In reality, the bulk of ice wine produced in Canada is produced by wineries in the province of Ontario. Ice wine is also made in chilly areas around Europe, such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, and Luxembourg, among other places. However, as compared to Canada, the quantities produced by these nations are insignificant.
Northern Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York’s Finger Lakes are just a few of the cool climate wine areas that have successful ice wine producers that are well worth visiting.
It is only the wineries who utilize these traditional processes that are legally permitted to name their wines “ice wine” or “Eiswein,” while the remainder attempt to circumvent this law by calling their products “iced wines” or “Riesling Ice,” respectively.
What Does Ice Wine Taste Like?
The fact that ice wine may be made from a variety of different white grapes and red grapes means that no two ice wines are alike. Despite this, there are several characteristics that all ice wines have in common. To give you an example, all ice wine is extremely sweet and full of intense fruit tastes. Riesling ice wine offers aromas and flavors reminiscent of cooked apples and stone fruits such as apricot and peach, among other things. Vidal Blanc ice wine contains characteristics that are akin to stone fruit, but it also includes hints of tropical fruit.
Because the red grape skins were left on during fermentation, Cabernet Franc, which is a red ice wine, has a somewhat distinct flavor profile than other red wines.
How To Pair Ice Wine
Ice wine is a decadent beverage that should be enjoyed with something as sweet and delectable on the side. Pairing your wine with something sweet and fruity will help to bring out the best in the wine’s characteristics. The more you concentrate on the wine’s tasting notes, the more prominent they will appear to be. So if your ice wine has hints of stone fruit in it, serve it with a beautiful tray of grilled apricots and ice cream to complement the flavors. Because of the rich richness of cheesecake, it is an excellent partnering choice for ice wine.
Because ice wine is luxurious and a touch pricy, it’s the perfect wine to reserve for a special occasion. Drinking a bottle of ice wine over the fireplace after a holiday meal with family and friends is a particular kind of pleasure.
How To Serve Ice Wine
Ice wine, like retribution, is best enjoyed when served cold. A few hours in the refrigerator before serving should be sufficient to give your wine the much-needed coolness it requires. Because of the reduced temperature, your wine will not taste excessively sticky in the tongue when drinking it. When serving ice wine, be sure to use a glass with a wide mouth so that the scents may be appreciated to their fullest. It’s also vital not to overfill the glass with liquid. As with most things in life, less is more when it comes to ice wine, as the tastes can be extremely powerful.
A Treat Worth Waiting For
It’s likely if you’re like us and when you think of a glass of wine to unwind with at the end of a long day, you think of a classicMerlot, Pinot Noir, or Chardonnay. A little glass of anything sweet and syrupy is seldom what we’re in the mood for these days. Ice wine, on the other hand, is the stuff that dreams are made of. This amazing dessert wine is bursting with tropical fruit tastes, honey aromas, and delightful sweetness, making it the perfect treat or thoughtful present for anybody with a sweet tooth.
DESSERT IN A GLASS
Some consumers abstain from sweet wines, while others refuse to drink any other type of wine. Dessert wines may be found in a variety of sweetness levels and can be enjoyed with a broad variety of meals and beverages. Hawk Haven is pleased to announce the release of our 2010 White Port on the 24th and 25th of August this coming weekend. During this week’s Wine Wednesday, we’ll look at a few different types of dessert wines, as well as our most recent release. Dessert Wines are classified into four categories.
However, we’ll be concentrating on four common types: Sparkling, Lightly Sweet, Very Sweet, and Fortified (fortified with vitamins and minerals).
- Dessert Wine with a Splash of Sparkling Sparkling wine is a go-to for food pairing since the bubbles enhance the flavor of everything. Fruit-forward kinds of sparkling wine go well with fruit-based sweets because of their high acidity, which helps to lighten heavier foods. The Moscato d’Asti is the ideal accompaniment to a birthday or wedding cake. Look for the term “Demi-Secor.” Semi-Secco is used for off-dry wines, and DouxorDolce is used for sweet wines. Off-dry and semi-sweet wines have a modest sweetness that is somewhat sweeter than table wine. Off-dry wines are classified as having 0.5-1.9 percent residual sugar (RS), whereas semi-sweet wines have 2-6 percent RS, according to the Sweet and Fortified Wine Association. When paired with spicy foods such as Indian and Southeast Asian, these wines are particularly well-suited since the sweetness helps to cool down the heat. Light desserts such as fresh fruit tarts, light custards, and biscotti cookies also combine well with gently sweet wines
- For example, Wines with a lot of sweetness According to the European Union, a sweet wine must have a minimum of 4.5 percent RS to be considered sweet. Having said that, several well-known sweet dessert wines have far more residual sugar than the 4.5 percent recommended by the USDA. The production of these wines is accomplished by a variety of procedures, all of which have the similar purpose of concentrating the sugar in the grapes. One way is to leave the grapes on the vines for a longer period of time, which is referred to as a “late harvest.” This is the style used in the production of German Spätlese and French Vendage Tardive wines. Another way is to expose the grapes to “Noble Rot,” also known as Botrytis cinerea, for a period of time. Noble Rot is a beneficent fungus that concentrates the grape tastes and sugars in wines. Notable Noble Rot wines include Sauternes from France and Tokaji from Hungary, both of which are famous for their sweetness. Ice Wine, also known as Eiswein, is another extremely sweet wine. This process, which is particularly well-known in Canada and upstate New York, is achieved by leaving the grapes on the vines to freeze and concentrate the sugars
- It is particularly well-known in France. Vinegars that have been fortified These wines are typically considered of as dessert wines, although they may also be made as dry wines with a little effort. A neutral spirit is added to an unfinished wine to stop the fermentation process, which results in fortified wines such as Port and Sherry. This addition raises the alcohol concentration of the beverage and can result in a high residual sugar content of up to 10%. With lengthy maturation, these wines may become nutty and rich, and they pair beautifully with desserts such as crème brûlée or pecan pie.
Hawk Haven White Port (2010, Hawk Haven) Portugal’s white port is a historic but extremely rare form of port that is produced in the country. We create ours with Moscato grapes and a classic neutral brandy to keep the fermentation process from starting. Visit Lynsie’s great blog about our 2008 White Port for additional details on that procedure. With this technique, the scents of mandarin orange, ripe pear, and orange flower that characterize Moscato are changed into notes of orange marmalade, caramelized pear, and fig, which are deliciously complementary.
Our lengthy maturing procedure brings out a lovely smoothness and nuttiness in the wine that makes it a pleasure to drink.
Please keep in mind that this wine has a high alcohol concentration (about 18 percent), thus the recommended serving size is 3 oz.
Instead of using a Port glass, you may use a white wine glass to pour this cocktail. Come in this weekend to pick up your bottle of Hawk Haven 2010 White Port, which has been hand-signed by the owner!
The Ultimate Guide To Dessert Wines + Infographic!
In the year 2010, Hawk Haven White Port was released. Portugal’s white port is a classic but extremely rare form of port that is produced in this country. Moscato grapes are used to manufacture ours, and a typical neutral brandy is added to stop the fermentation process before serving. (For more more on that process, check out this excellent blog by Lynsie about our 2008 White Port!) With this technique, the scents of mandarin orange, ripe pear, and orange flower that characterize Moscato are changed into notes of orange marmalade, caramelized pear, and fig, which are delicious.
When we age our wines for a lengthy period of time, we get an exquisite smoothness and nuttiness.
Please keep in mind that this wine has a high alcohol concentration (about 18 percent), thus the recommended serving size is 3 ounces.
Please stop by this weekend to pick up your bottle of Hawk Haven 2010 White Port, which has been hand-signed by the owner!
Fortified wines, one of the most historically significant categories of wine, are produced by adding grape spirit (brandy) to a wine during or after fermentation, depending on whether the winemaker wishes the finished wine to be dry or sweet. Fortified wines are produced in two ways: during fermentation or after fermentation. Wine that has been fortified before fermentation has ended will be sweet because there will still be sugar in the wine itself, but a wine that has been fortified after fermentation will be dry because there will be no sugar in the wine itself.
Wine drinkers — mostly the English – learned to like the style, and the technique became established.
Sherry is one of the world’s coolest and most flexible dessert wines, yet it is typically avoided by wine enthusiasts because it might be scary to drink. The reason for this is that sherry, which is produced in a variety of various styles in the hot, southern Spanish area of Jerez, has a variety of personalities rather than a single one. There are three types of grapes that may be used to make Sherry: Palomino Fino, which accounts for the vast bulk of the country’s Sherry production, Pedro Ximénez (often known as “PX”), and Moscatel.
However, despite the fact that there are several Sherry classifications, the most straightforward method is to divide them into two categories: dry versus sweet, and oxidative against non-oxidative.
They should be enjoyed young and should not be stored for long periods of time.
In the middle there’s dry, semi-oxidative/semi-biological Sherry, such as Amontillado and Palo Cortado, which exhibit traits of both types while also having the capacity to mature.
Finally, there are the sweet, oxidative varieties such as Cream, Moscatel, and Pedro Ximénez, all of which have tremendous sweetness, fig-like tastes, and, in the case of Pedro Ximénez, the ability to age if properly produced.
Port, like Sherry, is available in a range of style categories, but unlike Sherry, Port is always sweet and is primarily made from red wine grapes. Port is primarily prepared using the indigenous grape Touriga Nacional, which is grown on terraced vineyards in Portugal’s Douro River Valley, as well as other local supporting grapes. Even though traditionally, Port was vinified in the Douro Valley and then matured downriver in the legendary Port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Porto, many smaller wineries are now opting to age their Port in the same location where it was originally vinified: the Douro Valley.
These include Late-Bottled Vintage (LBV) Ports and Vintage Ports, while LBV Ports and Vintage Ports have far greater concentration and complexity, and will benefit tremendously from bottle aging.
Colheita Tawny is the vintage form of this kind of Port wine, although while the wine may have been matured for a lengthy period of time at the winery, it will not benefit from additional bottle aging in most cases.
If Madeira were to be found in Westeros, it would unquestionably be among the Iron Islands, as it, too, adheres to the motto “What is dead may never die,” which means “What is dead may never die.” As a result of the fact that it has already been practically destroyed, this zombie wine from the warm island of the same name off the Moroccan coast (although it is nominally a Portuguese territory) is the most ageable of all wines.
The vinification process producing Madeira requires frequent heating and purposeful oxidation, two phenomena that are normally associated with the spoilage of fine wine.
It fluctuates in sweetness from drier to sweeter (in order of grape variety), and a bottle called Rainwater is often a mix with a medium level of sweetness.
Madeiras are responsible for many of the world’s oldest bottles of wine remaining in existence; they may endure for millennia and can be left open and out of the fridge for virtually an endless period of time.
Even though Marsala is commonly thought of as a basic cooking wine, it really has a lengthy history and is considered one of the world’s “big three” fortified dessert wines, alongside Sherry, Port, and Madeira, among other things. Marsala is the name of the region in which this fortified wine is produced, which is located around the city of Marsala in the northwestern corner of the island of Sicily and is known for its production of fortified wines. In most cases, it is created from white grapes, however red and ruby variants are available.
Depending on when the wine is fortified during fermentation and whether or not a cooked grape must called mosto cotto is added, the style of Marsala can range from dry to sweet.
This oxidative aging is responsible for the amber colour of Marsala, as well as the rich tastes of nutty, caramel-like, honeyed, and dried fruit.
If you want the best, expect to pay more (read: if it’s less than $10, you probably won’t want to drink it!). Look for bottles branded semi-secco or dolce to assure that you’re getting a sweeter variety.
The region of Rutherglen Muscat is steeped in history, with many of the region’s producers hailing from the fourth or fifth generation of winemaking. While ultra-sweet, fortified wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when picturing the landscape of Australian wine, Rutherglen Muscat has a long and rich history. In this hot area of Victoria, some three hours northeast of Melbourne, the reddish-skinned white grape (yes, really!) Muscat Rouge à Petits Grains is allowed to ripen on the vine for the majority of the harvest season, allowing the grape to develop sugar.
The result is a deep dark wine with robust flavors of raisin and prune, burned caramel, coffee, roasted almonds, and other fruits.
Banyuls is a dessert wine that is a match made in heaven for those who are die-hard, no-excuse red wine enthusiasts out there. Produced mostly from Grenache grapes in France’s southernmost wine appellation, Banyuls is evocative of young Ruby Port, but with a fuller-bodied red wine flavor. It is produced in France’s southernmost wine appellation, Banyuls, which is quite near to the Spanish border. Banyuls is a fruit-driven wine, despite the fact that it has been matured in barrel. It has strong aromas and flavors of cooked red berries, prunes, and spice, as well as a pronounced tannic structure.
Late-harvested/Noble rot wines
Quite simply, late-harvested wines are those produced from grapes that have been allowed to ripen on the vine until later in the harvest season, allowing them to become extremely ripe and to accumulate significant amounts of sugar. A kind of late-harvest wine, noble rot or botrytized wines are produced when healthy grapes are attacked by a fungus called Botrytis cinerea, which punctures grape skins and causes them to dry, concentrating flavors, sugar and acidity. Botrytis frequently incorporates its own distinct tastes, such as ginger, citrus essence, and honey, into the final product.
In spite of the fact that Riesling is often associated with low-cost, sweet wines, the grape is actually one of the most versatile in the world, capable of producing bone-dry, enamel-stripping wines, lusciously-sweet, high-quality, super-expensive wines, and everything in between. Riesling is planted in many parts of the world, but it is particularly well-suited for making sweet wines in Germany, where the legal quality hierarchy for wines, known as the Pradikat system, is actually based on the quantity of sugar present in each grape at harvest.
Fully botrytized wines (Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese) have a lusciously sweet, orange blossom-like, honeyed richness.
In addition to making excellent ice wine Riesling, Austria also uses the Pradikat technique to produce Riesling, and Canada is also generating great ice wine Riesling.
In general, all of these Rieslings have a low alcohol content, with the sweetest wines having an alcohol percentage in the single digits and an age in the double digits for the sweetest wines.
However, regardless of whether you agree or disagree, it is undeniable that Sauternes is one of the world’s most prized and expensive sweet wines, and that it is one of the world’s most expensive sweet wines. It is the gold standard when it comes to botrytis-affected wines, and it is created from the easily-attacked Sémillon grape, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, and it is the most expensive. In this region of Bordeaux, winemakers visit across vineyards on a number of different occasions, collecting only noble rot-affected grapes as the fungus grows.
Dried fruit, saffron, honey, orange, golden apple, crème brulee, and many more flavors develop in the bottle and in the glass over time, maturing for years and years after the vintage is harvested.
Who would have imagined that Hungary would produce one of the world’s most celebrated sweet wines? Tokaji (not to be confused with its locality, Tokaj) is a wine created from the Furmint grape, which is strong in acidity and highly vulnerable to botrytis. It is most known for itsaszversion, which is prepared from late-harvested, shriveled, botrytis-affected grapes gathered in containers known asputtony. In addition to being very sweet, these barrel-aged Tokaji Asz wines are low in alcohol, have a thick mouthfee, and are frequently heavily honeyed.
It is arguably the sweetest wine on the planet, is extremely uncommon, may mature for more than a century, and is normally sold by the teaspoonful in small quantities.
Late-harvest Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc, cultivated in its various Loire Valley appellations, is another of those grapes that everyone knows, yet whether it’s dry or sweet, light or full-bodied, still or sparkling, it’s always extremely Chenin Blanc. Despite being the most well-known Chenin appellation in the Loire Valley, Vouvray can range from dry to sweet in a single location; the designations demi-sec, moelleux, and liquereux will indicate the presence of residual sugar. Sweet Chenin Blanc, on the other hand, achieves its apex in the Coteaux du Layon area of France, where grapes are harvested late in the season in many passes through the vineyard.
With the addition of the subregions of Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume, the wines acquire notes of golden apple, honey, wool, and orange blossom that are highly sought after.
Dried Grape Wines
Dried grape, or passito, wines are produced using a process that has been employed for centuries in Italy, Greece, and occasionally Austria. After harvest, healthy grapes are purposely dried on straw mats or by hanging grape bunches from rafters, depending on the region. This dehydrates the grapes, concentrating the residual sugar and aromas, and resulting in a sweet wine with clean and raisined tastes that is generally served chilled.
Because the juice is effectively being drained from raisins, the passito technique produces less wine than traditional vinification. As a result, these wines are more costly than their still-wine counterparts, which is understandable.
Vin Santo del Chianti
The wine known as “holy wine” may be found in numerous parts of Italy (as well as a Greek variation), but this particular variety from the heart of Tuscany is the most well-known. In addition to being fermented in small oak or (traditionally) chestnut barrels, Vin Santo del Chianti undergoes extensive barrel aging: between three and eight years, depending on the variety of grapes used and the amount of barrel aging. The wine is amber in color and made from Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia grapes that are hung in whole bunches from rafters.
Do you want to try the most classic combination with Vin Santo?
Recioto della Valpolicella
Its sweet red wine, Recioto della Valpolicella, is in line with the legendary red wines of this region in the Veneto. It is created from dried Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes, and it is produced in the same manner as the region’s famous red wines. Traditionally, grapes are dried on straw mats or in lofts called fruttai, which guarantee that air flows through the grapes during the drying process, preventing mold from forming on the grapes themselves. Recioto producers will normally allow the wine to ripen until the alcohol concentration reaches around 14 percent alcohol by volume, after which they will cool the wine to halt fermentation and leave residual sugar in the wine.
Fun fact: According to folklore, the world-renowned Amarone Della Valpolicella was born after a Recioto grower made the mistake of allowing his wine to ripen to dryness!