There is no single style that encompasses all sweet wines, even though they are often generalized. There are many ways to make sweet wines, from botrytized sauternes to powerful port. The concept of ice wines is difficult to comprehend. In spite of this, they have the potential to be incredibly tasty. Though ice wines are produced worldwide, the most famous places to drink them are Ontario in the east, British Columbia in the west, and upstate New York. The majority of ice wine buzz comes from these three places, even though they can be found elsewhere.
It all comes down to the weather, regardless of where the ice wine is produced, whether in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, Ontario's Niagara, New York's Finger Lakes, or Germany's Rheinhessen, Rheingau, or Pfalz regions. When grapes are harvested in the fall, when they have reached their optimal ripeness — a balance between acidity, sugar, and tannins — a dry wine is structured without becoming astringent. In the case of ice wines, grapes are left on the vine until temperatures drop to a level where they begin to freeze after they are normally harvested.
Harvested at night, grapes are gently pressed shortly after being harvested so that they won't thaw in the warm morning sun. When grapes are squeezed, a significant proportion of water is left behind as ice crystals in the liquid. Due to the extended ripening period on vines and the high harvest temperatures, ice wines are naturally sweet - no sugar is added.
Weather events are more likely to adversely affect all wines, regardless of whether they are white, red, dry, or sweet. However, growing and producing grapes for ice wine is worth the risks: Ice wine has a mouth-watering texture and a sweet, deep core. They also pair well with savory and salty dishes, such as foie gras, cheeses such as Gruyere and some blue cheeses, fruit, chocolate, and aromatic and mildly spicy foods.
Ice wines can be made from many white grape varieties, including Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Gewürztraminer, but they can also be made from red grapes, such as Cabernet Franc. While retaining some sweetness, they also maintain some acidity, enabling them to pair better with food. Insufficient acidity often results in cloying, bland, and uninteresting sweet wines. Moreover, their sweet flavor can interfere with the taste of foods they are paired with. While some are more dangerous to drink than others, those that are bright enough are very versatile and almost dangerous.
Ice wine plays an important role during the holiday season, both during dinner and afterward. They pair perfectly with a summer fruit salad or can even be splashed into it, which is also delicious. Irrespective of when you open the bottle of ice wine, it is a food-friendly glass and offers a great deal of pleasure.
Here is the list of 18 Ice Wines worth trying:
Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Eiswein Ice Wine 2012
Located in the heart of Mosel wine country, Egon Muller's estate has been producing fine German wine for more than 200 years. They are known for their Riesling wines. This German Eiswein is classified as 'spatlese' or late harvest and carries on the tradition of zesty, peachy sweet wines. It has a strong color. Lemon, lime, and grapefruit flavors. This is a very powerful white wine. The combination of this Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Auslese and cheese is perfect.
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Eiswein Ice Wine 1983
World-renowned white wine regions include the Wehlener Sonnenuhr. Riesling grown here is praised by connoisseurs around the world for its subtle, almost dancing fruit flavors and finesse. There is a stony clay slate of weathered soil on the south-southwest slope, which is between 50 and 70% steep. Jodocus Prüm, a member of the well-known Wehlen winegrowers' dynasty Prüm, built Wehlen's world-famous sundial on a rock in the Lammerterlay in 1842 to make life easier for vineyard workers. Prüm's sweet Auslese wines are naturally high in alcohol because they are made from botrytis-affected ripe grapes. This amber-colored, rich and sweet Eiswein was produced in 1983. There is a good balance between acidity and structure, and the nutty flavors are balanced by a long finish that lingers.
Karl Kaiser Legacy Edition Cabernet Franc Ice Wine 2004 from Inniskillin
Sweet, rare, and at the end of Niagara wine's era, it's expensive. Inniskillin co-founder Karl Kaiser retired in September 2006, but not before finishing off some wine vintages. Among them is a 2004 oak-aged Cabernet Franc icewine, released Dec. 1. The full-sized 750-ml bottle retails for $450, making it one of the winery's most expensive offerings. A total of 1,200 bottles were produced. By aging the wine for 15 months in American oak barrels, Kaiser said the wine was an experiment. Rich and fruity flavors were enriched by the aging process. Because of the oak, it has a lot of fruity flavors, but it also has a lot of spice. The Niagara Peninsula in Canada has the largest production of ice wine in the world. There is no doubt that Inniskillin is its most famous winery. The flavors of this medium to full-bodied wine, however, go beyond those traditionally associated with it. It has notes of cranberry and apple, and a flash of bubblegum sweetness!
2013 Peller Estates Brix 50 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine
The exceptional 2013 vintage enabled us to take winter winemaking to the next level. Degrees Brix at harvest determines the concentration and flavor of Canadian Icewine. The grape juice reached 50° Brix on January 3rd, 2014, due to an intensely cold and persistent winter. Natural freezing was used on Vidal Blanc grapes harvested from Wiens Family Farm Vineyard, Niagara-on-the-Lake. The first press juice was racked and fermented after three weeks of cold setting. After fermenting in stainless steel for about six weeks, the juice was stirred and heated daily to ensure a healthy fermentation rate. Before bottling, the wine was cold settled before racking off lees. With daily tasting and careful monitoring, we produced an Icewine with breathtaking complexity, depth of flavor, luscious texture, and balanced sweetness and acidity. The bouquet includes apricot flan, crème Brulee, caramelized sugar, and lemon custard. In the mouth, the palate feels a viscous, silky, velvety texture, followed by fabulous flavors of peach, pears, tropical fruit, and caramel. With butter-cream, butterscotch, custard, and lemon drop notes, the rich flavors and texture linger. Suitable for serving chilled at 8 to 10°C in small white wine glasses. Drink wine while enjoying fruit-based desserts, aged full-flavored cheese, rich pâté, and custard and cream desserts on a beautiful afternoon or evening. There is only a limited amount of Brix 50 Icewine produced because Canadian winter is so rare. It was produced in 1,528 bottles.
Riverview Cellars Cabernet Franc Ice Wine 2016
This is a wine that has been made with pride and passion. There are aromas of mango, ripe pineapple, and caramel in this Icewine which was harvested on one of the coldest nights of the year. Featuring ripe tropical fruits and honey, Golden Vidal Icewine smells of peaches, lychees, apples, and more. Intensive sweetness and soft citrus acidity combine to create an unrivaled aftertaste. As a result, its reputation as "liquid gold" is perfectly reflected. Food pairings: orange cheesecake, foie gras, dark chocolate, or salty and spicy food like fondue.
Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Sparkling Ice Wine 2017
When they arrived, these frozen grapes were pressed immediately after picking at an average temperature of -10°C. Inoculating the juice with a very carefully selected yeast strain that can withstand the high sugar levels was done after the concentrated juice was allowed to cold settle for 48 hours. As The fermentation process continued, the wine was transferred to a closed pressure vessel, which allowed it to ferment at 17°C for 2 weeks to capture the natural CO2. With Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine, Inniskillin Icewine adds to its award-winning list of Icewine styles. Featuring the aromas of cherries and strawberries, this wine is very unique. There is a medley of raspberry, strawberry, and rhubarb flavors, all balanced by crisp acidity. A delicious combination of chocolate and fresh red fruits. There is an abundance of strawberry, cherry, and rhubarb aromas in this unique Icewine. A crisp acidity and effervescence balance the concentrated flavors of this exceptional wine. Desserts with chocolate or red fruits have always been a favorite! Cheeses with strawberry, rhubarb chutney; chilled strawberry soup or gazpacho; fresh greens or spinach salads with strawberries or pomegranate seeds; duck prosciutto dusted in cocoa powder; roasted chicken or turkey with a red berry glaze.
Dr Loosen Riesling Icewine Eiswein Ice Wine 2017
Dr. Loosen Riesling Eiswein originates from a small parcel of the vineyard in Bernkastel held aside every year to ensure that the grapes don't overripen or rot - or get eaten by wild boars! The grapes for this bottling were primarily from Bernkasteler Matheisbildchen, which is about halfway up the steep slope behind Dr. Loosen's estate house. This site is cooler because of its higher elevation, which makes Eiswein more likely to be produced there. Nature also provides us with the gift of ice wine ("ice wine") in our area. During the winter, we hold aside some vine plots, hoping for a deep freeze that will allow the grapes to be frozen. While still frozen, the grapes are picked in the wee hours of the morning so that a few drops of nectar can be slowly squeezed out, leaving the ice behind. This produces a racy, vibrant dessert wine that differs greatly from the more round, honeyed style of botrytized wines. With an intense, nervy aroma, this dessert wine has flavors of densely packed pear, apple, and guava. There is a great deal of luscious, silky, and juicy complexity on the palate, as well as an acidity that gives it a crisp and dynamic finish.
Weingut Nigl Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Ice Wine 2018
Senftenberg's stone terraces, located along a riverside valley 70 km northwest of Vienna, provide the perfect conditions for wine with finesse and elegance. Minerality is provided by primary rock soils weathered from granite, gneiss, mica schist, and amphibolite. The wines' cool aromas can be attributed to both the locations and the strong temperature fluctuations at maturity. The nights following hot summer days bring coolness to the Waldviertel, which enhances its aroma. There are often many weeks (up to two months) of grape harvesting. Each vineyard is usually inspected several times to ensure that only the ripest grapes are harvested. Therefore, we are able to ensure that our wines are of the highest quality. There is a pure peach taste, a fine spiciness, as well as a perfect balance of sugar and acid. The wine is a good accompaniment to sorbets, fruity ice creams, and blue cheese.
Casa Larga Fiori delle Stelle Cabernet Franc Ice Wine 2008
The heritage and tradition of Casa Larga run deep. Keeping these roots in mind, we produce Ice Wine using the traditional, authentic methods of German Eiswein production. The result is a very sweet, full-bodied dessert wine. It is necessary to leave grapes on the vine past harvest and into the frigid winter months to mature. When the temperature drops below freezing, typically around 17 degrees Fahrenheit, they are harvested in late December or early January. This helps maintain the high acidity of the wine. Producing Ice Wine involves a lot of risks. Grapes that stay on the vine for a longer period of time are more likely to be damaged or eaten by animals. It is also important to consider the weather when producing Ice Wine. To produce a small amount of Ice Wine, it takes a large amount of acreage due to the concentration of fruit sugars. To prevent birds from eating the grapes, vines are covered with a net in early October. Around 17 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for harvesting grapes when they are frozen. In a hydraulic press, grapes are manually picked and pressed. It drips down the sides of the press and is gently delivered to a fermentation tank. The nectar produced by this process is extremely concentrated, resulting in a sweet juice. Beautiful aromas and a bright nose require cool fermentation.
Weingut Max Ferdinand Richter Mülheimer Helenenkloster Riesling Ice Wine
Helenenkloster, a two-acre site owned by Richter Estate, is a monopoly. This vineyard was first recorded in 1245, when its namesake, the St. Helen convent, received it from the Count of Veldenz. Today's vineyard site is buried beneath the ruins of an ancient convent. Helenenkloster overlooks the Mosel valley from Monzel to Bernkastel-Kues, located at the east end of Mülheim on a prominent ridge. With a southwestern exposure and a lower steepness than other Mosel vineyards, the vineyard can be easily managed by small vineyard tractors. There is fine-grained gravel and loam in the gray slate soil. Richter produces Eiswein (ice wine) almost every year from this vineyard due to its hardy canopies and grapes that can withstand late-season weather. Lemon candy and exotic fruit drops are concentrated flavors. This Eiswein (Ice wine) is grapy and juicy, backed by slaty and mineral components with extremely clean fruit acids that counterbalance the overwhelming sweetness. A drop of angel's nectar at a time!
Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine
A pioneering role in establishing the Canadian wine industry has been played by Inniskillin, Canada's first estate winery. Canada granted its founders a winery license on July 31, 1975, marking the first license granted since Prohibition. Inniskillin gained international recognition and changed perceptions of Canadian wine with its Grand Prix d'Honneur-winning Vidal Icewine in 1991 at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, France. The product was harvested during the coldest month of the year in Canada. Grapes are naturally frozen on the vine and harvested at -10oC when temperatures drop. There is only a small amount of concentrated nectar in each bunch. Icewine is a rich, specialty wine made by slowly fermenting grape juice at an average temperature of 15oC. Tropic fruit aromas such as mango and orange are dominant, and crisp, lively acidity balances fruit flavors such as peach, nectarine, and lemon. A crisp, bold acidity holds together intense aromas of mango, apricot, and honey combined with flavors of peach and candied brown sugar. With seared scallops, lobster, rich pates, and fruit-based desserts, this cheese is perfect on its own, or with a variety of cheeses (blue veined, aged cheddar, rich cream cheeses with dried fruits).
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Noble House Ice Wine
In honor of the Prince Elect of Trier, one of Germany's oldest cities, the Noble House was named. Founded in 1743, it is one of the most distinguished houses in the world. This building housed his winery. The grapes he pressed and the wines he made were made here. Zacharias Bergweiler-Prum, the grandfather of Dr. Peter Pauly, bought the house about 100 years ago. The Noble House Riesling embodies the classic style of Mosel Riesling. This wine is made exclusively from fruit sourced from traditional vineyards on steep slopes with slate soil. By maintaining long-term contracts with local growers, Noble House Riesling maintains its excellent quality every year. Designed to be easy-drinking and acidic at the same time, it is a perfect everyday wine. A citrus and stone fruit first impression dominates the palate. Peaches are paired with orange zest and grapefruit. The palate starts with full and fruity flavors and ends with crisp and fine acidity. Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler, Noble House
J.J. Prüm Bernkasteler Johannisbrünnchen Ice Wine
The wines of J.J. Prum can take a few years to develop, but even at 14 years old, this looks ridiculously young. The 2016 vintage is a low botrytis year, which means there is more purity and concentration in the wine. The wine is also extremely drinkable and has a vitality (and natural acidity) that sets it apart from sweet wines. This straw yellow beverage is flavored predominantly with preserved lemon and marmalade. A lingering waft of toast is the only bottle age giveaway, before rivers of the same preserved lemon notes. This tastes so concentrated that sweetness isn't the first flavor I notice - to the point where I can't describe what it tastes like.
Jackson Triggs, Ice Wine Vidal
There is an almost nectar-like taste and texture to Jackson-Triggs Vidal Ice wine, and it is infused with honey and vanilla notes. Wineries can't harvest ice wine until the temperatures drop below minus eight degrees Celsius, which triggers the snap of their elements. The art of making ice wine is truly an extreme one and a true natural wonder. An acidity that is vibrant and fresh perfectly supports the lush mouthfeel, while lemon candy flavors linger on the finish. Taste the sweetness of this ice wine from Canada that will bring you extreme pleasure. Aromatic and flavorful, it has a calming effect. Having a low alcohol content and an exceptional taste, it is the ideal drink for outdoor celebrations. There are notes of vanilla, papaya, honey, apricots, and mangoes in the flavor profile. With a silky finish, it has fine acidity. The outstanding taste of this product is best enjoyed with sushi, chocolate brownies, salmon, Thai cuisine, and spicy Chinese noodles.
Vidal Blanc Ice Wine by Hunt Country Vineyards
This vineyard and winery is located near Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes AVA region of New York State, USA. The Hunt family has farmed on the west side of Keuka Lake for seven generations. The grapes are allowed to freeze deep into the winter in the vineyards to make real ice wine - or Eiswein as it's known in Germany. In the vineyards, grapes are then harvested by hand early in the morning before temperatures rise above 15° F. After harvesting, the grapes are pressed to produce a concentrated juice rich in sweetness and flavor. The luminous bottle of New York ice wine offers a luxurious treat. Vineyards in Hunt Country are known for their spectacular wines, and this ice wine will win you over. Taste the rich flavors that will treat your taste buds. There are notes of tropical fruits, apricots, and honey in the taste. The aroma is attention-grabbing and the texture is smooth. With strawberry Nutella sandwiches, grilled chicken, mushrooms, and sushi, this dish is perfect
Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Ice Wine
Winter's gift to wine lovers is Inniskillin Icewine, one of the world's greatest wines. Grapes are harvested when the temperature dips to -10 degrees C, when the grapes are naturally frozen on the vine. From each bunch, only a few drops of luscious nectar are squeezed, which are then expertly guided through fermentation to create this rich and alluring specialty wine. The nose shows predominant strawberry, raspberry, and rhubarb notes while the palate shows a robust concentration of red fruits, balanced by well-balanced acidity. Suitable pairings include salted dark chocolate, chocolate mousse with fresh berries, strawberry rhubarb pie, and porcini-dusted ribeye. Chill before serving.
Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine
Riesling-based ice wine is a challenging craft, but the early cold of winter on the Short Hills Bench guarantees high-quality results. The aroma is rich and citrusy with a hint of perfume. Minerals, evolved and dried fruit, honey, and nuances of minerals will become apparent as the wine ages. This ice wine is beautiful when young, but will cellar for at least 15 years, partly because botrytis-affected fruit was removed. Estate-grown crops are produced on the Short Hills Bench. Contains naturally frozen grapes picked at -8 to -13 degrees Celsius. The affected fruit is removed prior to harvesting in order to prevent the spread of Botrytis Cinerea. The yield per hectare is approximately 15 hL. As part of the fermentation process, stainless steel is used. Tasting notes include nuts, apricots, pears, citrus fruits, and melon. The flavors are balanced with refreshing acidity. The aroma will captivate your senses and capture all of your attention. Apple pie, cheesecake, donuts, Thai cuisine, and chicken burgers pair well with it.
By Rashmi Goel