If there’s one thing the Niagara Region in Ontario is known for is its abundance of wine. In fact, it’s one of the best wine-producing regions in the country due to its cold winters and warm summers; the perfect combination in creating a balanced blend of ripe and acidic grapes.
Of course, many people know a lot about red and white wines and often have their favourite bottles that they buy frequently, but if you’re looking to try something new, why not extend your taste buds to Icewine? Icewine producers are becoming increasingly popular in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake but many don’t quite know what it is, how to serve it, or how it’s made.
What Is Icewine?
Icewine is known for being a sweet wine that is believed to have first been made in Germany in the late 1700s. When German winemakers immigrated to Canada, they continued making their sweet wines and introducing them to British Columbia and Ontario in the 1970s. Now, Ontario is known globally for its wonderful production of Icewine.
What makes it different than red or white wine is its noticeably sweet, tropical and citrusy flavours. This is because Icewine grapes are left on the vines in the winter to the point where they become naturally frozen on the vine and processed while the temperature is -8ºC or lower.
How Icewine Is Made
Cold temperatures are essential for an Icewine crop, especially come time to harvest (which is usually done in the middle of the night in the snow) and press the grapes. The frozen grapes will be pressed at a much higher pressure than typical grapes. Since the grapes are frozen, there will be a lot of ice crystals and water in the press and only a small amount of concentrated juice, however, even just the small amount is sweet and high in sugar. This also means the alcohol level will be quite low.
In order to create more of an intense fruit flavour, Icewine makers will add flavours such as strawberry, mango, lemon, peach, pineapple, and more.
How To Serve Icewine
Because of the level of sweetness obtained by the naturally frozen and pressed grapes, many enjoy this dessert wine on its own well-chilled, however, it does pair nicely with soft cheeses such as blue cheese or Brie. If you’re a big sweet tooth lover, it does also pair nicely with cheesecake, dark chocolate, crème brûlée, and other fruit-driven desserts.
Different Types of Icewines
Icewine is typically made with Riesling grapes. The most popular types of red Icewines are Cabernet Franc and Merlot and are known for being sweeter.
Vidal Icewine is, by far, the most popular type of white Icewine made by Canadian winemakers even though Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc white grapes are also used. White grapes produce Icewine that is pale yellow or light gold in colour which are known for having a bit more of a full-bodied flavour while still being sweet. If you’re new to drinking Icewine, Vidal Blanc may be a better place to start as the acidity and sweetness is well balanced and easier to handle for those who don’t have a big sweet tooth.
Icewine Is The Perfect Addition To Cocktails
People may think they shouldn’t add Icewine to their cocktail recipes because of the sweetness it holds, but this isn’t true. They actually make a great cocktail addition! In fact, many Icewine lovers love adding a splash to their glass of sparkling wine, whisky, sangria, cosmopolitans and martinis.
If You’re Looking For A Personalized Wine Tasting Experience In Niagara-on-the-Lake
Canada produces some of the most delicious Icewines on the planet, so why not give your tastebuds a gift by trying it yourself? Icewine is unlike any other wine – it’s unique, it’s sweet, it’s tropical, and it can be served in a variety of ways or enjoyed on its own. But if this is your first Icewine experience, it can be difficult to know what notes or flavours to look for, and what type of bottle to buy. That’s why you need to book a personalized tasting experience with our wine experts and friendly staff here at The Hare Wine Co. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. You’ll enjoy a guided tour in a cozy tasting room and be able to ask your professional tour guide all your burning Icewine questions. Afterwards, you can enjoy browsing through our gift shop so you can take home your favourite bottle of wine.