Ice, Ice, Ice...........in the sweet wine world, ICEWINES — grapes that are picked while still frozen on the vine and pressed immediately and wines made from post harvest frozen grapes — is a category that many of us overlook and positively should not. Why? Because they are simply delicious! There are fabulous German and Austrian eisweins, as well as Canadian icewines, but here in the US, I want to share three of my favorites, each produced from a different varietal and found on a different coast.
These are wines not be to be missed, beginning with Winterwine from Sakonnet Vineyards in beautiful Little Compton, Rhode Island. Made from 100% Vidal Blanc grapes which were harvested in late fall and then frozen. Winterwine, an ice wine style, presents with a gorgeous amber hue. There are concentrated apricot and stone fruit aromas with tastes of honey and citrus, particularly orange notes and it has a rich satisfying finish. Paired with warm Apple Charlotte, it makes one forget about the bitter cold if you live in New England during the winter months and will have you craving seconds on both!
On the west coast in Eugene, Oregon, is King Estate Winery where Vin Glace is made from grapes that were frozen after harvest. Vin Glace Signature Collection is made from 100% organic Pinot Gris grapes. Medium straw in color with fresh, floral aromas and peach flavors, it ends with tropical hints of guava; soft on the palate, yet crisp and refreshing, I like to serve Peach Mousse and Almond Pirouettes, keeping dessert light. It is totally captivating and this Vin Glace can be enjoyed during any season!
If you travel north from Oregon to Washington state, Chateau Ste. Michelle is a must stop. Bob Bertheau, winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with Dr. Ernst Loosen, a noted German winemaker, collaborate on producing a true icewine, Eroica. These grapes are picked while frozen on the vine and then pressed immediately. Made from 100% Riesling, it is golden in appearance with aromas of honeysuckle, pear and apple; has flavors of apricot and spice with well balanced acidity. Try it with Lemon Cheese Bavarian - oh my goodness....................