Icewine is nectar of the gods - some of the hardest to make, most intense wine in the world.
Grapes are left on the vine well into the winter months. The resulting freezing and thawing of the grapes dehydrates the fruit, and concentrates the sugars, acids, and extracts in the berries, thereby intensifying the flavors and adding complexity to the wine made from it.
Genuine icewine must follow VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) regulations that prohibit any artificial freezing of grapes. The grapes are painstakingly picked by hand in their natural frozen state, ideally at temperatures of -10 to -13 degrees C - sometimes the picking must be done at night to take advantage of the temperature. Yields are very low, often as little as 5-10 percent of normal.
The frozen grapes are pressed in the extreme cold. The water in the juice remains frozen as ice crystals, and only a few drops of sweet concentrated juice is obtained. This juice is then fermented very slowly for several months, stopping naturally.
The finished icewine exhibits aromas of apple blossoms and apricot with a hint of cinnamon-raisin bread. On the palate, this beautifully rich dessert wine follows through nicely with a mix of apricot, mango and a strong honeyed component. The overall finish has good length with tantalizing flashes of exotic fruit and spice.
Food pairings: Fruit-based and spiced desserts, sweet/spicy sauces and chutneys, bitter/sweet chocolate, foie gras and spiced Asian cuisine. Also complements rich blue veined and selected cream based cheeses.