A Guide to Ice Wine for Beginners
Ice wines are a luxurious treat for wine lovers with a sweet tooth. Though a rarer and slightly more expensive style of wine, they’re worth seeking out.
What is Ice wine?
Ice wine is a form of late harvest wine. Grapes aren’t affected by the botrytis cinerea fungus; ice wine’s focus is on the pure varietal flavour of the grapes.
Winemakers will leave grapes destined for ice wine hanging on the vine well after they’ve harvested the rest of their vineyards.
Once the temperatures get below freezing, the grapes will be carefully harvested. The water present in the grapes freezes, allowing winemakers to easily remove the icy part from the sugar-rich juices.
After crushing and pressing, these exceptionally sweet juice is fermented. But because it’s so sweet, the fermentation process can take up to several months! Once fermentation is complete, the wines are fined, filtered, and bottle at a final alcohol level of around 8 to 11%.
Where are the best ice wines produced?
The best ice wines in the world come from cold countries with cool climates and northerly latitudes.
Ice wine can come in all colours; Cabernet Franc ice wine is a speciality of both Ontario and British Columbia.
What to eat with Ice wine?
As a dessert wine, ice wines are brilliant with fruit-based desserts. The natural fruit flavours of the wine tend to complement sweets like tarts, fresh berries, and fruity pannacotta.
Ice wines based on Cabernet Franc will make a wonderful pairing with chocolate desserts.
It’s also lovely with cheese. Go for strong and rich styles like Roquefort or Gorgonzola, perhaps even an aged Parmigiano will make a good paring.
Foie gras with a toasted slice of bread is our favourite match for Ice wine. It is rich and complex to complement the sweetness and ripeness of grapes.
Looking for ice wine near you? Ask wine app for recommendations in your area!