WBW #27: Icy Desserts

Wow, what a great opportunity to open a nice bottle of Icewine. Unfortunately, we just finished harvesting, I just don’t have the time to go shopping for a Icewine.

So what can I do? This beautyfull theme I cant let pass by!!
I will tell you about our last Icewineharvest from the vintage 2004. Maybe it is not what Kitchen Chick is looking for, but I give it a try 🙂

In our winery we usually go every second year for Icewine. The decision which vineyards, which grapes will left for icewine is made during the harvesting period in October. In 2004 we decided to go for the Gewürztraminer, of course he was in fantastic healthy condition, and this is important, the vineyard is situated in a place, temperature can drop below -7 °C. -7 is needed by german law to produce icewine, anyway for a good icewine you should go below -10 °C.

After waiting several nights for the perfect temperature at the 20th of December at 11 p.m. the temperature dropped below the -5°, so we did know, at 4 a.m. we will have the -7°C or even less. All our friends and familymembers got a warning phonecall, to be prepared in a few hours it could happen we have to start picking grapes.

Icewine usually has to be harvestet at night, just before sunrise we have the coldest time of the day. As colder it is, more concentratet the juice will be.
At 3 a.m. the temperature dropped again to -7°C, our phonealarm could start. within 1 hour time about 12 people arrived in the winery, well prepared for working in cold temperatures.

Belive me, there is no possibility to prepare. Even wearing 5 long johns, wont help to much, after one hour working in the vineyard you start dancing on your feets, of course you cant feel them anymore!!

icy-dessert1
Icewineharvesting has something dramatic. It is cold, the sky is clear, in the rows are working funny dressed people, at the end of the rows the tractors are running to give a little bit of light. The dogs ar running arround, they dont have any idea what is going on.

As winemaker it is my duty to fix and prepare all machines for the pressing of the incoming grapes. There is not to much to do, most important, the press must have the same temperature the grapes do have. So I have to move the press outside, to be sure the grapes don’t get warmed up during the pressing process.

About 6.00 a.m we finished the harvesting, just in time before sunrise. The grapes arrived the short way of 500 meters at the winery.

termometerThe press got filled with the frozen grapes, a sound like stones are thrown into a big bowl.

All harvesters are standing around the press, everybody wants to see the first drops appearing the winepress.

But the press does not want to start. This was looking like the greatest desaster which could happpen to a winemaker. After a few minutes of shouting and crying to each other we startet to think and realized, this temperature is to cold for this modern computer-operatet winepress.

Quickly we organized a hairdryer a and did give the computer a few moments af warm air, and, the press did start. I will never forget this moment, from this day on, I will allways have a hairdryer with me, when making Icewine.

In meantime everybody is prepared for the juice begin to run. Prepared means, having a small glass of schnaps in the hand to welcome the new icewine.

After another 10 minutes the juice begins to drop, and everybody is happy everything worked out nicely. Now we are together going for a nice breakfast, to warm up and getting new energy, of course the icewine is pressing for the next 3 hours. Every move nd every drop is watched.
About 9 a.m we stopp the press, and just left it like it is. Its not possible to clean, of course the water would freeze immidetiately, so we wait for the sun to unfreeze the press, the grapes inside are at this time one big blog of frozen iced grapes.

Alltogether we harvestet about 300 litres of Icewine, which went into a small stainless steal tank. The wine fermentet about 60 days in the winemakers office, of course the winecellar would by this time to cold for any fermentation akitivitis.
For us here in germany something like a icebox wine is not thinkable and also not understandable. Why should somebody, who does not have the climate for icewine, still produce icewine.

Just think about, icewine is a rare product, of course of its way of production. Iceboxwine producers intend to use this high recommondation of icewine, but using industrial way of production. This can’t work out.

The wine:

Eiswein
2004er Heidelberger Dormenacker Gewürztraminer Eiswein
The wine is sold at the winery for € 23.-/0,375 liter

I dont like to give a long recommendation on own products, so I will give you an idea how I would describe this wine. The colour is gold-yellow, but not amber. The flavours are highly concentratet, clean without having this typical taste of botytis. Flavours of full ripe melons, passion fruit and roses makes this wine so enjoyable. The aftertaste seems never ending, but it ends abruptly, this little bottle is empty ……

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