If you enjoy a good glass of wine after dinner, then you may be familiar with what’s known as a “dessert wine.” True to its name, a dessert wine can be served with dessert. It’s said to heighten the flavor of pudding. Or, it can be consumed alone without a sweet food accompanying it. Ice wines are included in this classification, along with Bermet, Sauternes, Sherry, and Commandaria. In the United States, a dessert wine has an alcohol content of fourteen percent or more. So, now that you know that Ice Wine is a dessert wine, what is a true Ice Wine?
In order to answer that question, let’s start out by learning the history of Ice Wine. The story goes, that, some two hundred years ago, a winemaker in Germany found that some of his grape crops had been “ruined” by a frost. Determined not to lose this frozen crop, the winemaker went ahead and pressed the frosted grapes to make wine. He was amazed to find that the frosted grapes produced a sweet, acidic alcoholic drink that was tasty to the palate. Since that time, winemakers have been recreating fine Ice Wine. But, to make TRUE Ice Wine, the grapes are left on their vines until the outside temperature reaches a chilly -19.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, they are harvested and pressed into a type of sweet dessert wine.
To hasten the frosting process, some winemakers in the United States and New Zealand use electric freezers to “artificially” freeze the grapes. You would think that “frozen” is “frozen” as far as wine fruit is concerned. However, these “artificial” Ice Wines are thought to be lacking in taste. True Ice Wine, which is made from grapes that are naturally frosted on the vines, is considered to be better in quality when the two wines are compared. True Ice Wine also costs more than its fake counterpart.
You would think the freezing of the fruit would negatively affect the taste of the wine. But, that’s not so! Since grapes are comprised of about 80% water, the frigid below-zero temperature freezes that liquid. This allows winemakers to press the juice and the sugars of the frozen grapes out without getting all the water. True Ice Wine is a very concentrated alcoholic drink.
When you shop for a bottle of True Ice Wine, you can look for alcohol that’s been produced in Europe to be sure you buy the “real thing.” Because, Europe has tough laws concerning the making of wine. One law is, that only wines that are made from grapes that are naturally frozen can be labeled as being “Ice Wine.”
As you can imagine, since it’s up to the cold weather to create the grapes for True Ice Wine, the production of this alcoholic beverage is limited. Also, True Ice Wine is harder to come by since it’s often exported from places like Europe.
Since Canada’s winter climate guarantees freezes of their grape crops, this country is the leading producer of True Ice Wines across the globe. So, if you can’t find European ice wines, you can also look for Canadian brands as well.
Still, if you can’t find True Ice Wine on your local store shelves, you can search the Internet for online suppliers. Retailers such as Primewines.com is a good place to check out their selection.