1- What is Ice Wine or Ice Wine?
Like many of humanity’s inventions, ice wine is discovered by accident or mistake. As its name indicates, Icewine is a wine that comes from the production of frozen grapes.
In 1794, the winegrowers, waiting for the grapes to ripen correctly, are surprised by the early onset of winter, and in cold Germany (northern Bavaria), the grapes are frozen .
But of course, they were not going to run out of wine that year!
Vinifying these partially frozen grapes, they realized that this type of elaboration highlighted some very interesting characteristics that they did not expect: The ice wine was very tasty, aromatic, sweet and with intense acidity.
During the years 1846-1880, their fame spread , and in France they soon adopted this elaboration of what they called “vin de glace” , of very limited productions and consumed only on very special occasions.
2- Where are ice wines or ice wines produced?
Canada and Germany are the main and most famous producers.
In Europe: Currently the traditional production areas are in Germany (Rhine region) and Austria (Neusiedlersee region).
In America: In the northern states of the USA and southern Canada, wines of this type are being made recently, since they also have the right climate for this type of viticulture and winemaking. Niagara is the largest ice wine producing region in the world, although states such as Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia also stand out.
Today, Ice Wine is defined as the wine that comes from the fermentation of grapes naturally frozen in the vine, at temperatures between -8 ºC and -12 ºC.
3- What varieties are used in making ice wine or icewine?
4- How do you make ice wine or Ice Wine? Elaboration.
The winegrower who wants to make a natural ice wine must:
- Leave a part of the vines without harvesting . The vines have to be very healthy so that the grape remains in good condition until the arrival of the cold.
- Trust the favorable weather .
- Wait for the cold , so that the grapes freeze in the vine properly.
For this freezing to take place, it is necessary that the temperature remains at least around -7 or -8ºC (without falling below -13ºC) for several days, weather that marks the beginning of the harvest.
The secret of ice wine: In the grape grain, the water is the first thing that freezes, and with this a higher concentration of sugars is obtained from the must, which must be pressed before the ice crystals break down.
5- Elaboration Process of Ice Wine Ice Wine:
It is harvested at dawn and with the grapes frozen, and it is quickly transported to the winery and the production process begins to keep the grapes frozen.
As in almost all winemaking methods, it is crushed to favor the extraction of the must.
Natural pressing of the grape before it thaws. As the pressing progresses, the thawing and the temperature increase, so that only a small part of the must is usable, hence also the high price of ice wines.
It is a very slow process, and can take up to two to three months. In these cold conditions and with this concentration of sugars, it is difficult for the fermentation to start immediately, so the must tends to be tempered. The fermentation of these musts, due to their special conditions, is very slow.
5. Aging in wood.
6- Ice wine in Spain. Cryo-concentrated wines.
In Spain , obviously, we do not have the necessary weather conditions for the freezing of the grapes to occur in the vine in a natural way.
There is an artificial way to make this type of wine, by artificially freezing the grapes. It is possible to obtain wines with characteristics similar to ice wines. They are cryo-concentrated wines .
7- Tasting and Pairings of Ice Wines, Ice Wine, Glacier Vins.
Ice wines or ice wines:
– They should be taken at a temperature of 10-12º and not at temperatures close to freezing. They spoil.
– They are wines with a pale golden color and as they age they acquire an amber color.
– They are sweet wines, with an extremely high acidity which balances them and makes them fresher and not cloying.
– Medium bodied, with a long and persistent finish and complex aromas.
– Although they age very well, it is ideal to consume them young, especially those with higher acidity.
– They are ideal to drink as a dessert wine, although they also pair very well with foie gras and strong cheeses such as Roquefort or Cabrales.