We’re delving into the magical world of ice wine, a delicacy that’s as unique as it is delicious. And where better to explore this frozen wonder than in the picturesque vineyards of Southern Ontario?
So, what exactly is ice wine?
Imagine grapes frozen on the vine, glistening like jewels in the winter sun. Ice wine, also known as Eiswein in German, is a type of dessert wine made from grapes that have been naturally frozen while still on the vine. This natural freezing process concentrates the sugars and flavors in the grapes, resulting in a beautifully sweet and aromatic wine.
Now, let’s talk about the fascinating process of harvesting. In Southern Ontario, where temperatures can drop to bone-chilling lows during the winter months, winemakers eagerly await the perfect conditions for ice wine grapes to freeze. Typically, harvesting occurs in the early hours of the morning when the temperature drops below -8°C (17.6°F).
Picture this: rows of vines draped in snow, the air crisp and still. Harvesting crews, equipped with special gloves and tools, carefully pick the frozen grapes by hand. It’s a labour-intensive process that requires precision and patience, but the reward is well worth it.
Once the grapes are harvested, they’re pressed immediately while still frozen. This is crucial to ensure that only the concentrated juice is extracted, leaving behind the frozen water content. The result? A lusciously sweet liquid with a perfect balance of acidity and flavor.
Now, let’s get to the fun part – pairing ice wine with delicious winter foods. Since ice wine is sweet and luscious, it pairs beautifully with a variety of desserts, cheeses, and even savory dishes. Here are some mouthwatering pairings to try:
- Cheese Platter: Create a decadent cheese platter featuring creamy brie, tangy blue cheese, and sharp aged cheddar. The rich flavors of the cheese complement the sweetness of the ice wine perfectly.
- Fruit Tart: Indulge in a homemade fruit tart filled with fresh berries and a buttery pastry crust. The tartness of the fruit contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the ice wine, creating a delightful flavor combination.
- Spicy Asian Cuisine: Surprise your taste buds with a pairing of ice wine and spicy Asian cuisine, such as Thai curry or Szechuan stir-fry. The sweetness of the wine helps to balance out the heat of the spices, creating a harmonious and memorable dining experience.
- Dark Chocolate: Indulge in the ultimate luxury with a pairing of ice wine and dark chocolate truffles. The intense flavors of the chocolate complement the sweetness of the wine, resulting in a match made in heaven.
There you have it – a glimpse into the enchanting world of ice wine and the winter wonderland of Southern Ontario. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or just dipping your toes into the world of wine, ice wine is sure to captivate your senses and leave you craving more. Cheers to the sweet symphony of ice wine!