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10.20.2006

WBW#27 Announced: Ice Wines

wbw_icon.jpgDo you ever wonder how someone figured out that artichokes were good to eat? I mean, someone had to really want to get some food out of what amounts to a huge prickly thistle in order to discover that there's a delicious little heart in there waiting to be devoured. But the human drive to eat is the strongest of our urges, so at some point, someone must have braved the thorns, and voila, we now have artichokes. The human drive to get drunk is probably a notch or two below food and sex but only slightly less urgent. Which is why I think we have ice wine. I'm betting that the first ice wine was made purely out of desperation -- leftover grapes on the vine or some neglected grapes pressed and fermented in the vain hope that some late season effort might translate into something drinkable. Imagine the surprise, when the first attempt might have yielded a gorgeous sweet golden nectar the likes of which no one had ever tasted before?

Ice wines are definitely an acquired taste, and one, I have to say, that I really have not fully acquired yet. They're generally just too darn sweet and syrupy for me. But thanks to the Kitchen Chick, I'll get a chance to explore ice wines as part of Wine Blogging Wednesday #27. On Wednesday November 8th, bloggers all over the web will pop open a bottle of ice wine and blog about it. Feel free to join us.

Technically there are two types of ice wine -- the type where the grapes are left on the vine to freeze (hard work and usually only possible in northern climes) and the type where the grapes are picked and then frozen using more....industrial means (read: big walk-in freezers). Both types are acceptable for the purposes of this wine tasting event, which is good, because the real deal are often very, very expensive.

Irrespective of price, they can sometimes be tough to find, so if you're going to participate, I suggest doing a little shopping around now.

Comments (7)

sam wrote:
10.21.06 at 4:03 PM

I just used this event as an excuse to buy a bottle of Inniskillen cabernet franc this morning. I no longer feel so bad about having encouraged wbw participants to part with their money recently for the champagne event. I could have gotten 3 bottles of champers for the price of just a half sized bottle of ice wine. I am not sure I am going to share it. (with anyone!)

I am wondering if it will be better with chocolate than Banyuls. I might actually let Fatemeh help me do a taste test.

10.22.06 at 7:22 PM

When I first asked for ice wines as a theme last year, I didn't think about price so much then as the Canadian exchange rate was so in our favor that the wines didn't seem expensive. But I was definitely noticing the prices a few weeks back when I went to scope out some wines for my own WBW!

Caroline wrote:
10.23.06 at 9:42 AM

Weird- second time someone told me about ice wines this week. Do you have reco's for affordable ice wines?

Alder wrote:
10.23.06 at 10:00 AM

Caroline. Why don't you wait until November 8th and then you can get many different recommendations as part of this event?

Billy wrote:
10.23.06 at 1:10 PM

Caroline -
The good folks at Bonny Doon produce an affordable ice wine, Muscat Vin de Glacier. Granted, my experience with the ice wines is fairly limited, but I have tried this one and enjoyed it very much. I've seen it in several stores, but I've been able to find it most reliably at my local Cost Plus/World Market; failing that, I'd imagine that a cursory internet search would yeild positive results. I seem to remember a bottle (375 ml) being somewhere in the $13-$19 range.

Natester wrote:
10.23.06 at 2:47 PM

Here's an incredible deal for TRUE icewine, not that freezer swill:

Rudolf Muller 2004 Riesling Eiswein

at around $17/bottle

WOW!

Also, Alder I must disagree with your intro paragraph. I imagine the left over grapes were used for Brandy or Vodka for drunken purposes before the wasted the time and effort to make them into wine!!

casey wrote:
10.23.06 at 7:34 PM

wow, what a coincidence...on Friday I joined my friend Kenny of Banyan wines for a pick of his riesling down in the SLH. in addition to what will go into his regular bottling, he had the crew pick a half ton specifically to make an ice wine. what a crazy amount of work. They had to use these tiny little bins, about 50 of them, that will be frozen. you need to use these tiny little bins or else you could end up with a giant half ton icecube! talk about labor intensive, in the time it took one crew to pick and fill the small bins(about a half ton of total fruit), the other crew jammed through about 2 tons. labor intensive to say the least. hopefully all will turn out well.

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