The local newspaper had an article about "ice wines." I had never heard of
them before. Any views on these types of wine? The wines seem rather pricey,
but since they had pick each grape I guess they are rather labor intensive.
See link below.
The one I have tried was made in Canada, by Legends Estates. They are VERY
sweet, intense tasting. This was a "low" price one, a 375ml bottle cost
about $30 US. Lets just say that I could have gotten more value for my money
with a (less sweet) late harvest German Riesling.
It was an interesting flavor - quite different from any other wine I have
tasted. I have not tried a true eiswine - there is a difference in
techniques. The true eiswine is not picked until after the grapes have
frozen while still on the vine, one reason for the high price - the weather
is variable enough that the grapes may be underripe or overripe at the time
of the freeze. From what I have read, the icewines are made by freezing the
grapes after they are picked (although this may not be universally true),
which would seem to me to give a different flavor.
For me, it goes along with the several meads that I have tried -
interesting, but I'll stick to more "mainstream" wines most of the time.
They're one thing in traditional Germany (Eiswein), where I believe they
were historically a novelty item, to recover something from a bad situation
(grapes caught by frost), unusual and unpredictable. Can be uniquely and
subtly flavored, and they vary in finished sweetness.
Something else indeed around Ontario in recent decades, where there is more
Eis than Wein, and these are made deliberately as a local specialty. Still,
more encouraging than was the Ontario Pinot Noir I tried there in '89 ...
And there too credit is due, Pinot Noir is always difficult and we would
never get anywhere were people not willing to try.
You have to give the wine industry credit in general: People try it
everywhere. Tom Stevenson's "Sotheby's" Wine Encyclopedia (not to be
confused with his "Christie's" Champagne encyclopedia -- does he have the
auction firms bidding against each other?) includes entries on serious
efforts in Texas and Mexico, for example. One of my cherished clippings is
a well-done magazine photo of a group of experienced cowhands around a
campfire, horses tied up, covered wagon nearby, hoisting balloon glasses of
True German eiswine is from frozen bunches picked from the field, and
crushed shortly thereafter, before they can thaw. The water freezes
first, and the high sugar is concentrated in the liquid portion.
These grapes are frequently picked very late in the year. I have had
eiswines picked on Christmas day, New Year's day, and one picked on
The wine can be artificially made by freezing picked grapes, then
Not much juice, so very high price
On Wed, 3 Mar 2004 15:27:29 -0500, "mary"
Also Canada has Icewines made in the traditional German method - expensive,
but not quite as expensive as in Germany. There is also Icewines in the
Finger Lakes in New York State (Just on the other side of the border with
the Canadian region) - though I do not think there is regulation about the
nature of the frozen grape as in Canada and Germany.
I have yet to find a bad Icewine, myself.
On 3/3/04 7:21 PM, in article firstname.lastname@example.org,
In article , email@example.com
Who told you that? That is a load of crap.
Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) standards are Ontario's and British
Columbia's answer to France's AOC, Italy's DOC, and Germany's
Qualitatswein mit Predicat system. All VQA Icewines are made the same way
German Eisweins are, picked and pressed only when they are frozen solid.
They can't even pick them until they have had several nights of solid
For general standards of the VQA system, including allowed varitetal,
standards, inspection and verification standards, see:
They are expensive because it takes much more grapes to produce a bottle
(the grape are dehydrated by the cold).
I personally prefer riesling ice wine.
It's a little bit off topic but you can also give a change to ice cider
On Wed, 3 Mar 2004 17:26:37 -0500, "422Tango"
This takes us back to a discussion we had several months ago. What
requirements have to be met (in different countries, of course) in
order to label a wine a "late harvest" wine? afaik, there is no
definition of such a type of wine in Germany; hence no labeling
requirements. Rebuttals are welcome.
To me anyway, a "true" icewine (or eiswine) is made from grapes that
have frozen on the vine. I know that some wines are made from grapes
that are frozen after a "normal" harvest and are then labeled
"icewine" (in the US, anyway). I seem to recall some effort to make
this practice (the labeling, anyway) illegal in the US. Can anyone
help me out here?
As long as it's "most of the time". One should venture out from time
to time. Most of the time when I've done this I've struck out (a
baseball term that may be untranslatable) but sometimes I've come upon
a real treasure.
To reply, add "x" between
letters and numbers of
Of the 4 Canadien Ice wines I have tried, my favorite is the Pellar
Estate Vidal. I haven't had one in a long while, so I can't give a
better TN, but it was full of exciting flavor. I stick icewines in the
freezer for 15 minutes or more before drinking.
Inniskillin is popular. I found that their Vidal drank a bit more
elegantly than the PE. Not as exciting flavors to me though. I thought
the Trius was awful. I had one other that wasn't too exciting. It had
Not really dehydrated, as others have said. Dehydration implies a permanernt
loss of water, with eiswein, the grapes are partially frozen and the
physical chemistry involved means that what freezes out is pure water,
leaving a morte concentrated juice, this is pressed out while the grapes are
It may be that you meant that, and that your use of "dehydrated" was a
slightly careless use of the word. If that's so, then I apologise.
In passing, I was at a "prestigious sweet wine" tasting last year, at which
we had a Canadian Ice wine (well reputed) I have to say that I found it
flabby and one dimensional, when compared with the German ones I tasted
later. It may be that I was unlucky.
Thanks Dennis, for the correction on the Canadian icewine technique. As
another poster has commented, the frezzing after picking may well be allowed
in the US. Your posting is helpful to me - because now I know that the
icewine I tried was produced in the same manner as the German. I'll probably
enjoy it again at some time, but right now, finances don't permit frequent
Would also like to give a shout-out to the Austrian eisweins.
I've tasted them side by side with an Inniskillin and found them to be
more interesting. For disclosure, i'll tell you that come June we'll
be importing quite a few of them, but the reason is exactly because we
found them to be superior. Matter of taste as always, of course. But
that we're importing them is the good news: up to now they have been
quite hard to find here in the states, and therefore quite
Plus, the Austrian wines are made from some different grapes from the
norm: think gruner veltliner eiswein, and samling 88 (AKA scheurebe)
I don't want to come off as just plugging the vintners we're bringing
over, so you should look around and see what is already available.
And then i'll be happy to give anyone 10% off or so if they want to
try ours when they get here!
In the end, it's all about enjoying the wine, right?
In article , firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are posting from the US, you should try buying them in our own
Canadian dollars. Then it really hurts! ;-)
is a boutique family run winery
on the Beamsville Bench, probably the best area for Niagara Pennisula
wines. They have about 30 acres of vines. A 200 ml bottle of their Vidal
Icewine goes for CAN $36 (at CAN $1.30 to US $1.00 that is about US $28).
Vidal Icewines from lesser rated wineries can run about CAN $20-$30 for
200 ml. A fuller sized 375 ml bottle from a better known winery or high
quality vintage can run CAN $55-$75. Accordingly, Icewines are usually a
special treat, usually only a two ounce or so serving with a classic
dessert. Restaurants would typically charge CAN $7-$10 per serving.
OK - Vidal Icewine is the one I tried - the 375ml cost me $29.95 US plus
Virginia's 4.5% sales tax, so it looks liike it gets shipped to Virginia,
and still sold for less than at home. (I get the same things in Virginia -
the Virginia wines typically sell for considerably more than the Austrailian
of about the same quality - it would seem that shipment _should_ add enough
to the cost, but it doesn't.
I used it by itself as dessert (wife and I got 2 small glasses each from
it), the classic dessert idea might well make a considerable difference.
I've had some Rieslings that I really liked with a meal, but didn't like at
all by themselves.
A "flabby and one dimensional" Canadian ice wine was almost certainly a
Vidal. If you get the opportunity to taste the Riesling or Gewurz versions
I think you would change your mind on our most excellent Canadian product.
From the heart of the Niagara ice wine industry.......
I'm really amazed at the differences in prices I've found for German
Icewine, some well known producers wines are in the $100+ range while
three icewines I just purchased (made by less well known producers) were
less than $20 US each. I got one each of Reisling, Gewurz, and Pinot
Noir; haven't tried them yet though.
In article , email@example.com
(kenneth mccoy) writes:
Kenneth, I wish you the best, and hope you like them all, but eiswein is
expensive to make, and the lower-priced ones have, in my experience, been total
wastes of money (same for cheap BA and TBAs, though some Pfalz Huxelrebes have
been been worth their pricetags, if not contenders with the best Rieslings).
Spatburgunder eiswein isn't something I've seen, but will be interested in your
notes. Who are the makers, and from which regions?
While I certainly don't think one needs to spend lots of money for fine wine,
my general experience is the $30 Laboure-Roi GC burgs, $20 TBAs, $10 Barolos,
and $4 Napa cabs seldom provide even a glimpse of what the excitement over
that designation is about.
But I hope in this case I'm wrong!
Drop "damnspam" to reply
The German term "Spätlese" does indeed translate into "late harvest".
However, the legal definition is based on ripeness, i.e. the sugar content
of the grape juice. Thus the prime qualities by increasing ripeness are
named as follows:
Kabinett - Cabinet wine (named for the 17th century cupboards where better
wine were locked in)
Spätlese - late harvest
Auslese - selected harvest (riper bunches of grapes)
Beerenauslese - selected berry harvest (the very ripe single berries, often
Trockenbeerenauslese - selected dried berry harvest (normally attacked by
noble rot - desiccating the berries and concentrating the juice)