Ice Wines, or Eisweins if you’re in Europe, are made when the winemaker leaves the grapes on the vine until temperatures drop below 19.4 (in Germany) or 17.6 (in Canada) degrees Fahrenheit.
This process causes the water in the grape to freeze, while the sugars do not, to make a more concentrated, sweet flavored wine.
The best ice wines come out of Germany, Austria, Canada and the United States, and come from grapes of the Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Vidal Blanc, Sylvaner and even Cabernet Franc varieties.
By Taryn Lachter
Ice Wines, or Eisweins if you’re in Europe, are made when the winemaker leaves the grapes on the vine until temperatures drop below 19.4 (in Germany) or 17.6 (in Canada) degrees Fahrenheit. This process causes the water in the grape to freeze, while the sugars do not, to make a more concentrated, sweet flavored wine. The best ice wines come out of Germany, Austria, Canada and the United States, and come from grapes of the Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Vidal Blanc, Sylvaner and even Cabernet Franc varieties but because only a few countries produce it, ice wine tends to be more expensive and sold in smaller quantities. As a resident of New York, you are more likely to find a wider selection of American and Canadian varieties simply because of distribution technicalities.
Alcohol content can vary from 6% to 13% depending on the country of origin, because of it’s sweet nature, ice wine is served in small amounts with dessert and sometimes even consumed as dessert. It’s composed of fruity flavors like tangerine or lemon and accompanied by a sweet, floral aroma like honey or honeysuckle.
Vibrant and rich, the 2010 Sheldrake Point Ice Wine comes out of the Finger Lakes region in New York. A winner of 13 awards since 2012, this elegant and rich wine brings delicate and complex flavors of peach, lemon and orange peel for a pure and smooth finish. $60, Finger Lakes, NY
Inniskillin Ice Wine is the most widely known ice wine producer in Canada, and their 2014 Vidal is a very popular variety. The flavor profile is very sweet and intense with notes of honey, peach, apricot and candied brown sugar, making it perfect on its own as a dessert. $49.95, Niagara Peninsula, Canada
The Gehringer 2014 Minus 9 Ehrenfelser gets its name from the temperature at which the freezing happens- negative 9 degrees Celsius. It brings intense flavors of stone fruits like apricot and peach, as well as honey and chamomile to complete a flavor profile that perfectly complements the rich weight. $41.99, British Columbia, Canada
Palatine Hills’ 2014 Gewurztraminer is well known for being the best of its variety around Canada. With its candied pineapple and citrus flavors, this wine is sweet and spicy, making it a unique and tasty dessert wine. $30, Ontario Canada
Out of Austria is the Markus Huber Reisling Eiswein, a perfect representation of the Reisling variety. It brings a great sweetness with its strawberry and caramel flavors along with a little spicy note of cinnamon. $48, Austria
Mission HIll Winery produces many wines but one of their best is the 2013 Vidal Icewine. Its sweet and fruity profile make it a very typical Vidal wine, and a delicious one at that. $45.49, British Columbia, Canada
The 2008 Jackson-Triggs Cabernet Franc is bright and fruity, with notes of cherry, fig and strawberry. It’s rich and full, but every so slightly acidic. Because of the red fruit, it goes extremely well with chocolate. $59.99, Niagara Peninsula, Canada
Dr. Loosen’s 2012 Reisling Eiswein is a little different from the others with a deep, smoky texture that comes from saffron, along with the gentle sweetness of peaches and honey. It’s rich and silky with an acidic concentration. $31, Germany
The 2009 Gordon Wines Gewurztraminer Ice Wine is known for its delicate honey flavor. It’s balanced with orange blossom, honeysuckle and tangerine aromas for a clean and refreshing taste. At $37 a bottle, this is wonderful way to end a summer meal. $37, Columbia Valley, WA
The extremely popular Vidal Blanc from Hunt Country Vineyardshas been served at the United Nations, the White House and even on The Today Show. It’s extremely sweet and luscious, with fruits like apricot and pineapple, and gentle notes of honey to round it out. $49.99, Finger Lakes, NY
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