Ice wine (Eiswein)

by Alberto Martínez

The Ice wine, also known by the German word Eiswein, is the wine which is made from frozen grapes or naturally freezed grapes, that get frozen in the own vine. This natural freezing effect prevents the freezing of sugar of the grapes, that fact makes that grapes loses water and it makes the wine sweeter than usual.

The freezing process of ice wine is produced before that actual fermentation, in this process many of the grapes are affected by “noble rot”, which is why only a few grapes are acceptable for the production of this wine, besides the fact that there must be done a hard manual classification. As a result only small amounts of strains are obtained for its implementation. So yes, it is an expensive wine.

Ice wine are usually made with Gewürztraminer and Riesling grapes, without discarding grapes like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Vidal (this last are grapes that grow very well in Canada). Needless to say that this wine is made in cold areas, with Germany and Canada’s top producers of this wine.

This type of wine is also achieved by artificial refrigeration, modern processes used by winemakers to replace the climate with modern and artificial technologies. In this process grapes are artificially frozen to achieve the perfect state of ripeness and then extract the juice to make the wine. It should be noted that this “artificial” process is slower than natural, and is more complicated because a small miscalculation can irreversibly damage the wine.

Although ice wine is high in sugar, it is also a wine with great freshness due to its high acidity. Ice wine usually has a medium to full body with a long finish. We can say that it has flavors ranging from peach, honey, figs, and green apples and some citrus fruits. Even some of them show aromas of tropical fruits like pineapple, mango or lychee.

Ice wine is usually below the alcohol content of table wine, that is about 6 degrees, but we could find them up to 13 degrees. Cataloguing ice wine as a dessert wine would be a bit unfair, but we must say that ice wine it is more a dessert wine rather than a table wine. To enjoy the exquisite tastes we recommend drinking ice wine from 10 to 12 degrees Celsius.

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