What is Ice Wine? From Frozen Grapes to Liquid Gold
What is Ice Wine?
Ice Wine is a unique style of sweet wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. It's typically made from white or red grape varieties like Riesling, Vidal, or Cabernet Franc. Ice Wine has a lower alcohol content than typical wines due to the high sugar content in the frozen grapes. This wine is renowned for its intense sweetness balanced by high acidity, offering rich flavors typically of tropical fruits, honey, and citrus.
What does Ice Wine Taste Like?
Ice Wine typically has flavors of ripe tropical fruits like lychee, papaya, and pineapple, along with notes of honey, caramel, and citrus peel. It's usually full-bodied and intensely sweet, often showcasing a vibrant acidity that balances out the sweetness, giving it a refreshing finish. Unique to Ice Wine can also be more complex flavors such as dried figs or saffron. The alcohol content is typically around 7-13% alc by volume, depending on the grape variety and winemaking practices.
What does Ice Wine Smell Like?
Ice Wine exudes a unique bouquet of sweet and complex aromas, thanks to an aromatic compound known as terpenes, which are present in high concentrations in the frozen grapes used for production. The scent profile of Ice Wine often includes intense notes of ripe tropical fruits, honey, and citrus, along with subtle hints of exotic spices and dried fruits. This rich aromatic complexity is part of what makes Ice Wine such a unique and sought-after dessert wine.
What are the styles of Ice Wine?
The flavor, aroma, and overall profile of an Ice Wine can vary greatly depending on the specific grape variety used, as well as the vineyard's climate and soil, and the winemaking techniques employed. Each style offers a unique taste experience, much like the different styles of Moscato.
1. RIESLING ICE WINE (SWEET AND AROMATIC)
This style is similar to Italy's semi-sparkling Moscato d'Asti. It's intensely sweet and aromatic, with high acidity and notes of honey, citrus, and stone fruits.
2. VIDAL ICE WINE (TROPICAL AND BALANCED)
Vidal Ice Wine is made from a hybrid grape variety that adapts well to colder climates. It's rich in tropical fruit flavors with a balancing acidity.
3. CABERNET FRANC ICE WINE (RARE AND COMPLEX)
This rare style of Ice Wine is made from red Cabernet Franc grapes. It has a deep color and complex flavors with hints of red fruit and spice.
4. MERLOT ICE WINE (VELVETY AND CHOCOLATY)
Similar to Pink Moscato, Merlot Ice Wine offers a unique profile with a velvety texture and flavors of dark fruit and chocolate.
5. GEWÜRZTRAMINER ICE WINE (AROMATIC AND SPICY)
Resembling Moscato dessert wines, Gewürztraminer Ice Wine has pronounced aromatics and flavors of lychee, rose, and exotic spices.
6. CHARDONNAY ICE WINE (RICH AND CREAMY)
Less common but uniquely delightful, Chardonnay Ice Wine is akin to a still Moscato, offering creamy notes alongside the typical sweetness.
7. CABERNET SAUVIGNON ICE WINE (BOLD AND FULL-BODIED)
This rarer style of Ice Wine, comparable to a Black Muscat, offers bold, full-bodied flavors often with hints of dark fruits and spices.
8.PINOT NOIR ICE WINE (BRIGHT AND DELICATE)
Pinot Noir Ice Wine is another rare style, featuring bright red fruit flavors and a delicate balance of sweetness and acidity.
Ice Wine Food Pairings
Spices & Herbs
Ice Wine FAQs
Is Ice Wine a sweet wine?
Yes, Ice Wine is considered a dessert wine due to its high sweetness. Its sweetness comes from the frozen grapes used in its production, which concentrate the sugars.
How is Ice Wine different from other wines?
Ice Wine is unique because it is made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine. The freezing process concentrates the sugars and acids, resulting in a very sweet, full-bodied wine. It also has a lower alcohol content, typically around 10% ABV.
What grapes are used to make Ice Wine?
While several grape varieties can be used, the most common are Vidal Blanc, Riesling and Cabernet Franc. These grapes are known for their ability to withstand freezing temperatures.
Why is Ice Wine more expensive than other wines?
Ice Wine is more expensive due to its labor-intensive and risky production process. The grapes must be harvested by hand in the middle of the night when temperatures are just right, and because the grapes are frozen, they yield less juice than grapes used in traditional wine-making.
How many calories are in Ice Wine?
The calorie count can vary depending on the specific Ice Wine, but on average, a 3.5 oz serving of Ice Wine can contain between 150-200 calories.
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