Ice Wine Review – King Estates

frozen grapesYes, we make Ice Wine here in the U S of A. But some purists might argue that it’s not “real” Ice Wine. Why? Because in the very cool climate regions that specialize in Ice Wine, such as Germany and Canada’s Niagara Peninsula, the grapes are frozen on the vine by Mother Nature’s sub-freezing temperatures. Vineyard workers (and volunteer wine fanatics) go into the vineyards before sun-up to harvest the frozen grape berries. But in the case of this King Estate’s Oregon Ice Wine, the grapes are artificially frozen after harvest. Is this cheating?

Who cares. If the proof is in the glass, then King Estates’ Vin Glace 2007 is as authentic as it needs to be. This dessert wine is made in Oregon from Pinot Gris grapes that have been left to hang until their brix (sugar content) tops 32 degrees (or %). That’s a lot of natural sweetness. After freezing, the grapes are pressed, releasing concentrated juice and leaving ice crystals behind. (If you’ve wondered why Ice Wines are so expensive, this is it — it takes a whole lot of grapes to produce enough juice for a bottle of wine.) During fermentation, the process is stopped before all the sugar is converted to alcohol, leaving the residual sugar you taste.

So what’s it taste like? I’d say “divine”… Now, I’m not a sweet wine drinker — a little usually goes a long way for me. But what works about King Estates Vin Glace is the bright acid on the finish that keeps it from being syrupy. The palate sets you up with rich apricot and honey, and a lingering tangerine flavor. Then the finish gives up a hint of spice as it lingers with that lush fruit and bright, crisp acid.

And here’s the best part: this dessert wine comes in at about half the price of many Ice Wines. At $20 or under for a half bottle, it beats the pants off the usual $40 for a 375ml bottle. I’m dying to try this with some Creme Brulee, Cheesecake, or other decadent rich dessert. After all, what are dessert wines for??

$22.99 King Estate Vin Glace 2007 375ml

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