Sunday 12 July 2009

Ice Wine!

On Friday night, I rounded off the evening with a bottle of this. It was a gift, and had been sitting around in the kitchen for ages - a couple of years, I think - as it seemed such an unlikely proposition: a Canadian wine? The Niagara peninsula? Frozen grapes? But I soon discovered, as I poured myself a glass - over (appropriately) ice - that it was pretty marvellous stuff, a dauntingly intense mouthful. Terrific sweetness, terrific acidity, terrific flavour. It was only after I'd drunk it that I checked it out online, and discovered just how remarkable a creation ice wine is. The grapes are left on the vine well into the winter, and harvested and pressed when frozen. The idea is that the water content of the fruit will have frozen, but not the sugars and other solutes - hence the intensity of sweetness and flavour. Naturally, in these circumstances, yields of juice are tiny and every drop is precious - hence the high price of the wine. I must remember to thank the generous donor when I see him next. He certainly gave me a new, and memorable, drinking experience.


  1. How often we stuff gifts into dusty crevasses, only years later bringing them into the daylight and discovering their worth, cursing the time lost savoring the delights introduced to us.
    Canadian wine? goodness, what next, Swedish Barolo, Eritrean champagne?
    A respected German customer who was a major manufacturer of wine producing equipment had his own vineyard near Tubingen and presented me with a case of his own chateau Speidel, rotwein, 1987 vintage, warned by his son of its lack of, well, anything really, it was consigned to an outbuilding, suffering the trials of seasonal temperature changes. Discovering the long forgotten carton some years later and Frau Malty in one of her economy drive modes we gave it a bash. Magnificent, oh joy, nectar.
    Unfortunately the old Kraut had by then downed the remainder himself.
    All of this pales in insignificance compared with the Obstmetres freebies courtesy of an Iranian / American/ Jarrow lad who collects stuff.

  2. I love ice wine, and have also sampled some of the stuff produced around Niagara, I thought it was lovely too! Generally i've had more exposure to Austrian ice wine, made from the gruner veltliner grape, and the difference between ice wine and the other sweet austrian trockenbeerenauslese is marked - there's so much more of the original grape flavour in the ice wine and a much steelier balance than the wines made from dried or botrytized grapes


  3. Ice wine is also a category in which Canada produces the best of. A lot of that has to do with our climate. Follow more Canadian wine tidbits at

  4. If you should find yourself in NZ it's well worth enjoying their fine botrytised wines, which our Euoromasters will not let them export here.