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Old 12-30-2004, 02:28 AM   #1
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Ice wine

has anyone ever had, or heard of ice wine? i just saw a thing on tv about it. apparently, it is made from grapes that are harvested only after being frozen on the vine, at a very specific temperature range, around -7 degrees celsius, or 17 degrees farenheit. they only squeeze out about 1/10th of the volume of juice from normally hravested grapes. since the juice is somewhat concetrated, they make a sweet or dessert wine from it. it is supposed to be fairly expensive; around 60 bucks a bottle.
anyone ever try it before?


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Old 12-30-2004, 03:29 AM   #2
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While I'm no great wine drinker, I'm glad that this "technology" has finally reached New Jersey! (Sorry, Bucky, couldn't resist!)

A quick class on wine...the "juice" that comes from a grape is fermented into "wine"...

Grant you all that the "juice" that comes from rhubarb, blueberries, crabapples, beets, dandelions (the list is endless!) may also be "translated" to "wine", but lets just pay attention to the "purists" that say it "has to be grape"...

The "juice" that is fermented from the grapes is "different" by its sugar content, which is why "Chablis" is pretty "dry" and "Ice Wine" is VERY sweet...

When the Chablis grapes are harvested, the grapes are literally "bulging" with moisture (ie "juice"), but are relatively low in "sugars" on a volume basis...and so the wine gets to taste relatively "dry"...

If you look at German wines, you get the "Auslese", "Spatlese", etc (gradients of "perfection"-and fairly "cheap" and "accurate" means of buying the "good stuff")(Germany has a strict control for wines that the French lack!)

Anyways, as the grapes hang on the vine, the individual grapes "dry up" and lose the volume of water, which "concentrates the 'nectar' within" while not reducing the sugars...that makes for a more "intense" flavour, as well as a "sweeter" wine product...

The Germans created "Ice Wine" (Eizwein") by watching their grapes being frozen by "bad" weather", and picking the "ruined" frozen grapes, and crushing same to try to "salvage the crop"...

Amazingly, crushing them in the frozen state caused the water to turn to ice, which splinters off fairly easily, leaving the semi-liquid "nectar" (juice and sugar) to the fermentation process...in fact, you get about 1/7th the "volume" of liquid to work with...(which starts to account for the incredible price increase!)

This "sugary" nectar parlays into some fantastic product...in fact the Germans can only "gamble" that weather will favour them with the right conditions (you have to "harvest" the grapes at about minus 5 F, and there's no "mistaking" on this point!)...in Germany, its a bit of a "fluke" to get such a harvest...in California, its "impossible", in Ohio its terribly risky...in Ontario, its nearly a "certainty", and our grape growers are winning International Awards to beat the band with ice wines (aside from the fact that we produce some really great whites!)(and, if you can find them, good to "great" "old growth" reds!)

Am happily in the exact region that does the "Ice Wine" thing, and our inters are MOST ANXIOUS that people outside of Canada get to "sample" the product...it comes in "splits" of about 12-15 ounces (chill thoroughly before drinking!) and, locally, costs about $30-50 (Cdn$) a bottle...

Note that if we can ship it out of country, the Vinters will drop the price slightly, to attract new buyers and markets (or at least this was the case a few years ago!)...anyone interested in a very "unique" dessert wine taste experience can PM me, and I will hook you up to the Vinters involved...please do NOT ask for instantaeneous transfer...I'll have to call around and find who has what to sell, but will get it done, nonetheless...


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Old 12-30-2004, 10:21 AM   #3
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Ice Wine

I'm a huge fan of wines from Ontario, especially the Niagara region. We first discovered them when we attended a Niagara region food and wine event 3 years ago, and have gone back every year since. World class whites and reds, and amazing ice wines. We came home with 4 cases of mixed wine from different wineries last year. I could go on and on about it. If you're trying to find canadian Ice Wine in the US, I know places in NY and NJ that carry it (Inniskillin and Jackson-Triggs Wines are becoming readily available here), plus a number of the wineries can ship to the US. I can look up my list and give you the info if you want.
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:55 PM   #4
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Yes, Eiswein is pretty nice stuff.

But it doesn't always cost $60 a bottle.

A good liquor store should have several decent selections for under $30.

Of course that depends, as the grapes cannot be artificially frozen, so the availability (and thus price) of Eiswein is quite weather-dependent.

I have only had German and Austrian Eiswein and not Canadian. Have heard that Canadian Eiswein is very good, so I must try a bottle.
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Old 12-30-2004, 07:21 PM   #5
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Niagara icewines are regularly beating the German products at International competitions for several years now...

Sadly, its our whites that we do best, for "good" reds, you have to go to the vinter himself, as the "old growth" reds are the only really "good" (read "great") ones, and they are not offered through the liquor stores, or wine shops.

Note that the weekend befor Christmas, they brought in the icewine grapes, and the crop promises to be both plentiful and "splendid" for the 2004 vintage....superb growing year!
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Old 12-30-2004, 10:31 PM   #6
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thanks for the info everyone!

i'm gonna keep an eye out for a bottle or two.

ok, i've got another one for ya. years ago, my sister was in germany (married a west pointer, their first overseas service) and sent me a bottle of something called gluwine, or glutwine, i don't remember exactly how it's spelled. i think i remember it was a winter drink, supposed to be served warm.
anyone familiar with this, and would a bottle from the mid eighties still be good?
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Old 12-30-2004, 10:58 PM   #7
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No, its "gone off", please send it here, collect freight...

(okay will be "honest", for a moment...the opportunity overcame me!)

Typically, a white wine will not keep so long as a red...but some do...

I am not, personally, familiar with a "glutwein" from Germany, a quick check of my old and trusted "wine manual" gives me no clues, but if you could very carefully extract the bottle from your wine rack (hopefully, you've been keeping the cork wet!) and "carefully" typing out the "label", I can probably get it translated and evaluated for you...

Some wines (such as Beaujoulais) are meant to be drunk very quickly, and do not keep well...there are a few that are reputedly "Never Ready's" that have to be saved for your grandchildren, because they take about that long to "mature" (growing old is "mandatory", "maturing" is an "option"-"Red Green")...

A white wine will typically be sort of "straw coloured", and as it ages will get more "orange" in colour...what you want is for the wine, in a clear crystal glass to "glint" just a "hint" of "orange" at its surface...this "usually" means that the wine is at a limit to its age, and should be consumed fairly "immediately"...

The Germans really do have the "Wine Gestapo" at work (hoping that's not "politically sensitive!) in order to protect their Industry, and the "labelling" is very "strict" as a result...I expect that with a bit of "googling" you could easily place a dollar value on the bottle your sister gave you...and how, of course, to enjoy it to its best favour...

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Old 12-30-2004, 11:06 PM   #8
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i heard of it, bucky, but haven't tasted it.
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:01 PM   #9
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I've got a couple bottles in the fridge - It's Paradise Ranch - 1999, Late Harvest Chardonnay Riesling from Naramata, British Columbia.

I also have some dessert "champagne".

I just may have to break down and make some desserts!!! I'm thinking a Grand Marnier soufflé - YUM!!!

I liked the Paradise Ranch as it wasn't super sweet like some other ice wines I have had. It didn't get "rave" reviews but we liked it so I guess that's what counts!!!! Well, it was at a wine tasting so we may have just had too much prior to buying it!! :oops:

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Old 01-05-2005, 07:30 AM   #10
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We've got quite a stash of the stuff (Big Surprise, huh?).

Being close to Windsor, we can get some of the Canadian ones for a song, especially if we visit the wineries. They often close out prior vintages to make room for the new ones, and you end up getting a bottle of quality icewine for about $20 Canadian.


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