Ask the Expert: How is Ice Wine Different Than Other Wines?

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Ask the Expert: How is Ice Wine Different Than Other Wines?

In our weekly Ask the Expert series, we tackle all your alcohol-related questions. Want your own question answered? Tweet us @PasteDrink using the hashtag #AskTheExpert

Whenever I go to a fancy restaurant, I make a point of finishing the night with a glass of dessert wine. I love the stuff, but given it’s super-sweet flavor, a full bottle (most even just come in the 375ml size) is a bit too much for me, so it’s something best bought by the glass while I’m out and and about.

So, what gives ice wine its distinctive sweet taste? It’s not a ton of sugar.

Ice wine is traditionally made using grapes that are frozen while they’re still on the vine. When the grape freezes, the water in the grape freezes as well. Since the sugars and other dissolved solids don’t freeze, when the frozen grapes are pressed you’re left with a much more concentrated, sweeter wine.

Ice wine is traditionally made from Riesling grapes; however, it has also been made from Vidal, Cabernet Franc, and a num her of other grapes as well.

Since ice wine relies on the grapes being frozen on the vine, it takes an exceptionally specific climate for the wine to be made. If you live somewhere where frost comes long before a freeze, or freezing isn’t always a given, you can end up with a lot of grapes that rot long before they’re wine ready.

Canada and Germany are currently the biggest producers of ice wine, but you can also get it from locations in the United States, including parts of California, New York, and Michigan.

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