Ice Wine

I had never heard of Ice Wine until the other day. We were on a wine tour and some of us were running out of steam when we arrived at Columbia Winery toward the end of the day. Lounging in front of the fireplace the tour director was telling us the story of getting caught in Eastern Washington by an early freeze in 2006. And, that it had produced an award winning Ice Wine.

Ice Wine in Washington is rare and has been described as Nectar in a glass. To craft ice wine the temperature has to drop to below 32 degrees F. The water in the grapes freezes but sugars and other dissolved solids don’t. They have to process it while the grapes are frozen so pickers go out into the field at night.

I don’t have a gourmet taste for wine and some of the others in our party were teasing me that the wine I preferred tasted like cool aid. A clerk over heard our tour directors story and invited us to ‘taste’ the award winning wine that the 2006 freeze had produced. We might have been full of lunch and wine but we couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this. And, OH OH OH . . . before I even took that first sip others were proclaiming that I’d like this one . . . and I did. It is sweet a dessert in it’s self. We ended up with three beautifully packaged bottles.

The whole process of Ice Wine is fascinating. I went online and found this video of the wine we bought that explains the process it went through.

There is a number of recipe’s using Ice Wine. Here’s one.

Jello Shots
Ice Wine Jell-O Squares With Half-Frozen Champagne Grapes
Adapted from Donatella Cooks by Donatella Arpaia

2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
1 (375-milliliter) bottle of ice wine
Seedless Champagne grapes, for serving

1. Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small saucepan. Soak for about 5 minutes, until softened.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of ice wine to the gelatin mixture and warm the mixture over low heat, just until the gelatin melts and the mixture is completely smooth. Remove from the heat and transfer to a metal bowl. Add the remaining wine. Cool to room temperature, then ladle into 4 to 6 small glasses. Chill until set, about 2 hours. Alternatively, pour the mixture in a shallow square pan. Chill until set, then cut into 1″ cubes.

3. About 25 minutes before serving, rinse the grapes with cold water and spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet without touching one another. Place in the freezer until serving time. Arrange the ice wine shots on a platter (or, as I did, in carefully cut squares on ceramic soup spoons), and surround with the partially frozen grapes.
Serves 4 to 6.


14 responses to “Ice Wine

  1. I’d never heard of it either, but it sounds very interesting and looks really rather delicious.

  2. Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering. I SO want to try Ice Wine 🙂

  3. If you are ever in the San Diego area, there is a wonderful winery (woman owned!) in the Temecula Valley called Keyways. They make a wonderful Ice Wine – yummy!

  4. Wow. My mouth is salivating, too. Especially since we’re heading into a few 80 degree days here.

  5. I’m glad there are more people that hadn’t heard of this wine. I was surprised over the people who have. I was also surprised at the number of recipes out there that use Ice Wine.

    Tricia, we’ll plan a wine tour when you come to visit.

    Michal, its been a few years since we’ve been in the San Diego area but I’ll remember the Keyways if we get down there again. In the meantime I’ll wait for Laurie’s report when she goes down.

  6. Sounds YUMMY, Lavada! Have you ever had chocolate wine?! YUM ….


  7. I”ve heard of it but never tried it. Seems like I saw it on some tv show. I’m glad to hear it tastes great. I like a bit of a sweet wine as opposed to a dry one so I’ll have to be on a quest for this. I love the recipe and the picture. The pic looks like a cute little present.

  8. Terrel Hoffman introduced ice wine to me, and it is absolutely delicious. We were in Tacoma at a Margie Lawson Seminar. Sweet! Expensive! Delicious. Thanks for hitting my memory button! I enjoyed the video, learning how it is made.

  9. Hi Janette, no, I haven’t even heard of chocolate wine. ummm have to see if I can find it.

    There are really a bunch of recipe’s out there Jillian. Again a surprise for me. I had a glass last night and I’m debating if I want to use it or just drink it.

    Marion, from what I hear it’s easier and cheaper to find in Canadian wines. Washington weather isn’t predictable enough to depend on a batch every year.

  10. Your post is very nice. I agree with you that ice wine is delicious. I have had it while traveling in Europe. A little is usually served as an after dinner drink in some of the best restaurants in northern Germany.

  11. Lavada- either sounds good, but just drinking it is much easier, right?

  12. Karen, now that I know about it I’ll look for it when we are dining at the better places.

    Jillian, right just pour and enjoy.

  13. Valerie J. Patterson

    My husband and I are wine enthusiasts and a trip to the Finger Lakes Region of New York is always on our list of things to do each year. They actually wait for the first snow fall there to pick their grapes for their ice wine. They only get one drop of juice per grape, but the wine it produces is fabulous! I highly recommend a trip to the Finger Lakes if you’re so inclined and have the time. They have a wine trail and recommend not visiting more than 3-5 wineries a day–for obvious reasons! We have amassed quite a collection of wine. Every Thanksgiving we showcase a unique wine-find for our guests. Last year’s wine came from Rhode Island from a Newport winery on Aquidneck Island.

    If you’re really interested in chocolate wine, Pleasant Valley winery makes a delightful one called…are you ready…Chocolate Lab. It has a picture of an adorable chocolate Labrador on the label and the wine itself goes perfectly with dessert.

    Enjoyed your post, Lavada.

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