Top 5 Ice wines for winter

Jan 28, 2010 at 1:12 p.m. ET

Ice wine is a special dessert wine made from naturally frozen grapes on the vine which produce a more concentrated and very sweet wine. Ice wine is typically produced in areas with a constant cold temperature such as Canada and Germany, but can be made anywhere with a cold winter. Here are our top five ice wines to try this winter or any time a unique dessert wine is in order.

Ice Wine Grapes

Ice Wine Basics

If you are a fan of dessert wines or sweet beverages, then you will enjoy sipping on ice wines. Most ice wines are made from the Riesling grape, a popular Germany varietal, but they can also be made from the Cabernet grape or the unique Vidal grape.

Both red and white grapes can be used for ice wines with the white producing a bright golden colored wine and reds producing a wine with a pinkish color. Ice wine can only be made when the grapes naturally freeze during cold temperatures; they are never frozen by machines or other methods. Because of the time-consuming and intense process it takes to make ice wine, it can be fairly expensive, but that just means it should slowly savored.

Ice wine pairs well with just about any dessert or cheese or even on its own as an after dinner drink. It is best served chilled in a small cordial glass, and can be drank right after purchasing or aged before opening. Ice wine usually has a very fruity taste and nose with the flavors of apricot, peach, melon and sweet fruits coming through.

Top five Ice Wines to Try

1. 2006 Inniskillin Ice Wine Vidal

Inniskillin is a fantastic ice wine winery with two vineyards located in Niagara and Okanagan Valley, Canada. The winery's Ice Wine Vidal ($40 - $50) boasts a great depth of flavors of tropical fruits and the sweetness of honey. This wine is excellent chilled and paired with a fruit dessert or soft cheeses.

2. 2006 Peller Estates Riesling Ice Wine

Peller Estates Riesling Ice Wine ($60 - $70) has a golden color and fresh, clean flavors of citrus, pears and florals. It also has a honey flavor with a slightly thick mouth feel and a long acidic finish. This white ice wine is best served with cheese, fruit, pasta, pork or Asian cuisine.

3. 2006 Mission Hill Vidal Ice Wine

Mission Hill's Vidal Ice Wine ($40 - $50) has mostly mango and honey flavors along with tropical fruit aromas. Made from 100 percent Vidal grapes, this white wine is refreshing and pleasingly aromatic. Produced in British Columbia, Canada, this ice wine has depth, character and highly intense flavors.

4. 2007 Schmitt Sohne Eiswein

The German-made Schmitt Sohne Eiswein ($20 - $30) is derived from Ortega and Optima grapes. Delivering honey, caramel and raisin notes with every sip, this ice wine is complex and intensely flavored.

5. 2008 Nachtgold Eiswein

Yellow-hued and exuding aromas of peach, melon, and apple, the Nachtgold Eiswein ($20 - $30) is delicious savored slowly as a before or after dinner drink. This sweet wine has a bold flavor and is a great buy for those wanting to try ice wine without the high price.

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