So you call yourself a wine-enthusiast? Then, I am sure you’d know what ice wines are? Well, emmm, yes? No? If you do, then well and good, but for those who are not acquainted with the term, ice wine is wine made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine. Yes, the drink is as cool as it sounds. Interested much? Well, read ahead to find out more about this amazing creation.
Now that we know that ice wine, like every other wine, is made from grapes, and the only difference is that it’s made from naturally frozen grapes. Let us find out more about how those grapes are grown and what goes into them before transforming them into these bottles of lip-smacking nectar. Since grapes need to be frozen in order to produce ice wine, its production is limited to the countries with cold climate. Canada and Germany are the world’s largest producers of ice wines.
Ice wines are definitely not a recent fad. They’ve been into existence since the age-old Roman empire. In the records of Piny The Elder (Ad 23-79), certain grape varieties were not harvested before the first frost had occurred. The poet Martial also recommended grapes to be left on the vine until November when they would become stiff with frost. But, the details about the processes after those frozen grapes were harvested remain unknown. A widely held belief attributes the first known production of Ice wine (after the Roman period) to Germans in 1794. There is documented proof of ice wine production Dromersheim close to Bingen in Rheinhessen on February 11, 1830. Until the 1960s, ice wine, or as it is known in German, Eiswein, was not a popular drink and its harvests were rare. But this saw a boom in the 1980s and 1990s, when people started appreciating the taste of the ice wine. Needless to say, the most famous ice wines in Europe are harvested and produced in Germany though other countries such as Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland also manufacture it albeit in smaller quantities.
Other places that produce ice wines are Canada, the United States, and Japan. In Canada, about 75% of the ice wines come from Ontario. A place characterized by its cool summers and cold winters, a perfect climate for the harvesting of grapes meant for ice wine. In the USA, select wineries in Northern Michigan, and a few near Lake Erie, especially in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ashtabula County, Ohio produce ice wine. The Furano region of Central Hokkaido, Japan, produces an ice wine each winter at the Furano Winery.
What Does It Taste Like?
Well, I won’t be exaggerating if I tell you it tastes like heaven. Well, maybe I am; a bit. But this drink comes packed with various aromas and blends together the luscious taste of many ripe tropical fruits such as lychee, papaya, and pineapple. In order to serve it, it is important that you chill your ice wine first, and serve it with rich, strongly flavoured foods. Ice Wine is also called dessert wine, which means you can serve it with the dessert and or as a ‘dessert’.
Drinking Ice Wine is a truly delightful experience, which shouldn’t be missed. But make sure that you purchase a good quality Ice Wine (preferably made in Germany or Canada) even if it is expensive. Because, when it comes to wines, you just can’t compromise on the taste.