Ice red wines are simply dessert type of red wine made from grapes that are left to freeze on their vines.
This type of red wine is risky and labor intensive to make as the timing of grape harvesting is crucial. Very commonly produced in Germany where they are called Eiswein and Canada called Icewine the grapes have to be left hanging on the vines to freeze, with fear that it may not get cold enough before the grapes rot or are attacked and eaten by birds.
When the grapes reach the freezing point around 17 or 18 degrees Farenheit they are harvested at night to make sure they reach the wineries before the grapes defrost.
When the red grapes freeze, the water inside freezes as well leaving a very sweet concentrated sugar syrup. The red grapes are pressed while still frozen resulting in a very sweet concentrated dessert red wine.
At the present time the only red wine grape that is traditionally used in the production of this type of wine is the Cabernet Franc.
Many New World vintners are experimenting with other red grape varieties such as Merlot, Pinot Noir and even Cabernet Sauvignon.
Because of the lower yield and the difficulty in production they are traditionally much more expensive red wine. The labor involved in harvesting these grapes, often in the late evenings, and the care in actually handling the grapes carefully to produce the sweetest product command a much higher price in the final product. They are often sold in half bottles and can easily cost between $75.00-200.00 per half bottle
Port wines and Late Harvest Wines are considered by many to be the best sweet wine and are also referred to as: dessert red wines.
Remember when serving these wines they are to be served with sweet foods. The wine should be at least as sweet as the food served.
Also visit our other pages to learn more about dessert red wines or for a list of sweet red wines.