That's how wine enthusiasts describe an increasingly popular, decadent dessert wine made from frozen grapes. Fortunately, ice wine -- also dubbed "nectar of the gods" -- will be plentiful this summer, due to frigid temperatures across the nation over the last few years.
"More restaurants across the country are beginning to offer it due to the popularity in the summer and the fruity, chilled taste ice wine offers," says Harold Johnson, general manager of Las Vegas' Mt. Charleston Hotel.
Crossing the Frozen PondIce wine has been around for decades, but was rarely produced outside Germany until the Canadian government encouraged its winemakers to give it a try in the late 1980s. Canadian ice wines soon began to pull in prestigious international awards, and by the late 1990s, most of the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario was devoted to ice-wine production. Over the last few years, the U.S. has also caught on to ice wine. Bitter winters in Washington, Ohio, Michigan, and New York have been ideal for the many wineries in this country that have been picking, pressing, and fermenting this year's yield of ice wine. Now more than a dozen wineries in Ohio alone produce it. Ohio's climate is well suited to ice-wine production, due to the long autumns followed by freezing temperatures in late November and early December.
the Niagara Wine Festival,
Sept. 22 to Oct. 1, 2006
and the Niagara Icewine Festival,
Jan. 19 to 28, 2007.
Ice wine is also increasingly putting New York's Finger Lakes region on the wine map: In the last three years, sales of ice wine made in that area, as well as on Long Island (which more recently jumped into the ice-wine-making fray) have more than doubled, according to Susan Wine, owner of Vintage New York.