Frozen-Harvested, Sweet Ice Wines

Anthony Pierpont is a veteran Minnesota business executive involved in real estate and commercial loans. A wine aficionado, Anthony Pierpont has a taste for sweet dessert wines, including ice wines.

Ice wines are produced primarily in countries in the northern latitudes, such as Canada and Germany (where they are known as eiswein). Long after the traditional harvest season has ended, grapes grown for ice wine are left on the vine. These include varietals such as Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Sylvaner. During the deep winter months of December, January, and February, these grapes freeze and shrink, which creates a high concentration of acids and sugars and brings out an intense fruit flavor. Ice wine harvests are notoriously unpredictable, however, as a number of predators and molds threaten the grapes during the extra months they stay on the vine. In addition, an unusually warm winter (when temperatures do not dip below 20 degrees centigrade) can destroy the entire harvest. At harvest time, speed is of the essence, because the sugary juice essence is extracted and the water left behind in the form of ice. Once fermented, ice wines gain a silky texture and offer a concentrated sweetness that retains the essential flavor of the original fruit. Mr. Pierpont’s favorite ice wines come from Canada’s Inniskillin winery and America’s Casa Larga-Fiori Delle Stelle winery, which produces a Vidal Blanc vintage in the Finger Lakes region.

Anthony Pierpont, ice wine

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