kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

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Warm temperatures threaten current ice wine harvest

Warm temperatures (and lack of those below freezing) are threatening the ice wine harvest in Germany, Canada and the Northeastern United States this year.

Ice wine depends on freezing temperatures. The grapes remain on the vine until they freeze, at which point they are crushed. The frozen water is removed by the crushing process, and what's left is pure, concentrated grape juice. The resulting wine has a clean, pure, "grapey" fruit flavor and wonderful acidity.

Because of the gamble of producing ice wine, as well as the small yields, the per bottle price is certainly not cheap. But in my mind, it's worth every penny. Ice wine is a beautiful example of what a sweet dessert wine should be, with wonderful fruit flavor and intense sweetness, yet bracing acidity.

Some producers, like California's Bonny Doon, "fake" the procedure, putting grapes in a freezer before crushing them. Their Vin de Glaciere (which means "wine from the freezer") is a delicious, less expensive alternative to some of the pricier, authentic ice wines (Inniskillin from Canada is one of my favorite "real" ice wines..)

Ice wine lovers may need to seek out wines like those from Bonny Doon, especially this year.