Here in Europe, we are experiencing one of the coldest winters in recent memory. All this snow and ice makes me think… of icewine! 2009, by all accounts, should be an excellent year for this highly prized (and priced) nectar.
It’s not easy to make icewine. More than anything, you are dependant on the weather. You need to have healthy grapes which are untouched by botrytis, and you may only harvest when the temperature reaches -7° C. At this point, the water in the grapes is frozen, which results in a much lower yield but a higher concentration of sugars, acidity and extract. Rot and predation by birds and animals are major problems, and vinification is difficult and lengthy, This helps to explain why real icewines are never cheap, but a good one is worth every cent. I sell the delicious 1999 Eiswein by Weingut Debus in the Rheinhessen for €35 per half bottle. more>>