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I've tried just about every kind of wine you could imagine. I've drank blue wine. I've enjoy red wines and white wines galore. Dessert wines like port and sherry, I've enjoyed — in the sense that I promptly made a face and spat them out due to the cloying sweetness of them.
These days, I've been hearing rumors about a type of wine that I haven't tried yet. The new trend I've been hearing about is ice wine, and it sounds just like a summer sweet treat.
So, what is ice wine? Is it actually worth tasting? I decided to do some research to find out. Here's what I learned about this genre of wine and what you should know about it.
What is Ice Wine?
Ice wine, also known as Eiswein, is a dessert wine which is made with grapes that have been previously frozen while they were still growing on the vine. The grapes are pressed while still frozen, too, and the freezing results in a far more concentrated, far sweeter wine flavor.
This kind of wine is incredibly difficult to make, because noble rot is not allowed in the batch. In fact, it's one of the only dessert wines to ban noble rot in its making.
All the grapes have to be made and pressed within a matter of hours in order for them to be ice wine. Additionally, the fact that it can only be made at first frost — and that a first frost has to happen in order to make it — makes these wines very rare.
Right now, Germany and Canada are the top producers of Eiswein, and it's considered to be one of the rarest, most expensive dessert wines on the market due to the process it's made with. Canada currently leads the ice wine pack, and it's actually considered to be Canadian cuisine by many.
What is Ice Wine supposed to be served with?
Traditionally, ice wine is served in smaller glasses, in smaller portions than a typical wine. However, it's also considered to be acceptable to serve ice wine in a standard wine glass.
The proper temperature to serve ice wine is at around 10 degrees Celsius — around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts suggest briefly chilling ice wine in the fridge before serving, but also warn against serving it too cold due to the chance of its flavors becoming muted.
What is Ice Wine best paired with?
Since ice wine is one of many dessert wines, most foods that pair well with ports, sherries, and other similar wines tend to fare well with ice wine as well. That being said, this is also one of the very few dessert wines that has a flavor and acidity that makes it suitable for pairing with regular foods as well.
In order to pair ice wine well, you have to choose a food that is rich and flavorful enough to withstand ice wine's powerfully sweet punch. After all, what is ice wine, if not a very decadent treat?
Good "normal food" pairings for ice wine include the following:
- Foie Gras
- Pad Thai
- Indian Curries
- Blue Cheeses
- Duck a'l Lorange
That being said, chocolate and cheese pairings seem to be the go-to choice for ice wine aficionados.
What is Ice Wine good for?
Ice wine is good for impressing people with your savoir faire, as well as for pairing with decadent foods. It's one of the finest dessert wines on the market, so if you enjoy dessert wines, then this is one kind of wine you definitely shouldn't miss.