Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Icewine is a rare gift from a magical Canadian winter. Picked at the coldest moment of a winter's night, each frozen grape creates just one drop of Icewine. One smooth rich, luxurious drop.

One of nature's most exquisite gifts one of the world's most luscious and celebrated wines. It is one of the most difficult and challenging processes for the winemaker.

Canada is the world leader in producing amazing Ice Wines. The grapes picked at the coldest moment of a winter's night, each frozen grape creates just one drop of Icewine. Just one smooth rich, luxurious drop. As the grape freezes new sensations of sweet juice are created.

Icewine produced in Canada is required to meet the standard, as determined by a provincial authority that has verified that the product is wine that was made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine. Four of Canada’s wine-producing provinces – Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia – have already established acceptable provincial regimes, which meet the new federal standard and follow international protocols.

According to Canadian wine law, grapes designated for icewine cannot be picked until the mercury drops to at least -8°C (17° Fahrenheit), although colder temperatures make for a better quality product. The sugar level of the grapes at the time of harvest must reach a reading of at least 35 Brix (one degree Brix is equal to 1 gram of grape sugar); otherwise, they can only be designated as Special Select Late Harvest or Select Late Harvest wine.

During Icewine season, wineries and grape growers keep a careful watch on the weather forecast looking for an optimum stretch of temperatures between -10 and -12 °C ( standards may vary from province to province). This temperature range will produce juice in the range of 35 to 39 ° Brix (roughly equivalent to the per cent sugar in the juice). Typically, a period of at least 6 hours is needed to harvest and press the grapes – and it is usually an overnight job. Most small and medium-sized
wineries harvest by hand, often with volunteers who are enthusiastic Icewine lovers and want to experience the harvest first hand. Warm clothing is required. Mechanized harvesting has been developed very recently and is now an option for larger vineyards.

Once the grapes are harvested, they are pressed in small hydraulic presses under much higher pressure than normal for grapes harvested in the regular season. Because the grapes are frozen, most of the mass is water, and is left behind as ice in the press. Only a small amount of concentrated juice is extracted. Juice yields for Icewine grapes are much lower than for table wines – with average yields of 500 litres for each acre netted or approximately 15% of the expected yield for grapes harvested for table wines. This reflects both the losses in grape volume from dehydration while the grapes hang and losses to hungry birds and other animals.

Icewine juice is very sweet and can be difficult to ferment. High sugars can create a hostile environment for the yeast and fermentation stops early, leaving relatively low alcohol and high sugar levels in the finished wine.
The finished Icewine is intensely sweet and flavourful in the initial mouth sensation. The balance is achieved by the acidity, which gives a clean, dry finish. The nose of Icewine recalls lychee nuts. The wine tastes of tropical fruits, with shadings of peach nectar and mango. The high sugar levels lead to a slower than normal fermentation.

The signature of a great Icewine is the balancing tension between the sweetness and the acidity, with seductive tropical fruit flavours followed by a crisp, bracing finish which, when the wine is swallowed, is vividly refreshing. This brilliantly focused acidity distinguishes the icewine from sauternes and accounts for the freshness.* The finished Icewine creates a unique sensation on the palate.

Renowned for fruit flavours ranging from mango to peach to lychees, Icewine is truly a natural wonder and extreme winemaking at its best, yielding the impressions of tropical tastes wrought from the frigid extremes of the icy Canadian winterscape.***

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Icewine and Food

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