Curious Small Sip #40: Eiswein

Grapes freezing for use in Eiswein

Mother nature’s sweet, sweet nectar. So sweet, in fact, it can have almost double the amount of sugar as Coca-Cola.

Eiswein has its origins in the Rheingau Valley in Germany, where research suggests that it was the mishap of a particularly cold winter in 1794. Winemakers were forced to harvest the wines in subzero temperatures, resulting in a succulently sweet wine that would eventually be named Eiswein.

Common grapes used in Eiswein are Grüner Veltliner, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Vidal Blanc. It is predominantly made in Germany, Canada, Austria and the US.

Grapes are handpicked frozen, usually at night at around -7 degrees Celsius, and processed in the winery at similarly cold temperatures. However, it can be a tricky process for the winemakers. It’s common for the grape press to get damaged during the pressing of frozen grapes and usually only 10 to 20 percent of the juice can actually be used due to the water content. The thought of this struggle makes the wine even more appealing when we are having a tipple—the perfect Christmas dessert accompaniment. 

Eiswein pairs particularly well with cheesecake, panna cotta and ice cream.

Our Austrian Stift Klosterneuburg Grüner Veltliner Eiswein boasts honeyed tropical fruits, such as lychee and pineapple, whilst supported by an impressive acidity. Luscious!

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