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Ice wines?

Can you suggest a decent priced ice wine? and a wine store in and around NYC that has a nice selection? Thanks Cheers!

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  1. There's very little in the way of cheap eiswein these days - but if you're into sweet, fruity, full-bodied dessert wines, try a Hungarian Tokaji - a 4-6 puttonyos aszu will be as sweet and tasty as most riesling eisweins. They are not frozen, but are botrytised, like sauternes. Eisweins typically become botrytised after freezing, which gives them the high sugar content. There are also drier Tokaji region wines - some are like drinking a decent Riesling Trokenberenauslese. The Hungarians are cheaper than German wines, in general. I don't know much about American/Canadian eisweins, but the ones I've seen are also more expensive.

    1 Reply
    1. re: applehome

      Actually, the cold, that causes the grapes to freeze on the vine, does not usually allow for the formation of Botrytis Cinerea. Instead, the result is simple physics - sublimation. The water in the grapes freezes (solid) and then evaporates, without ever going back to a liquid state. Yes, there are similarities in the resulting wines, but there is almost never "Nobel Rot" in an Eisewein/Icewine.

      In GR, the grapes affected with Botrytis Cinerea are hand-picked and pressed into Trokenbeerenauslese (dry selected berries), while grapes affected by a frost, adequate to dessicate the grape, is hand-picked and pressed into Eisewein. There are some similarities, but I find more differences between the two.


    2. Suggest you go for a Canadian ice wine. Inniskillin is a good choice, but expensive. Jackson-Triggs is usually less expensive. Any decent wine store in the city should carry both.

      1. I agree with the Canadian suggestion. Inniskillin has a great Ice Riesling that I can personally vouch for. Delicious!

        1. The very method of producing a true eiswein means that they will be expensive. That said, true Canadian ice wines will be less costly than a German eiswein of equivalent quality. I concur that Inniskillin and/or Jackson-Triggs is a good way to go.

          For a lower end option, you can always opt for the "fake" ice wine -- Bonny Doon makes a Muscat Vin de Glacière, made from grapes that were frozen AFTER harvest.

          1. Dexheimer Doktor Silvaner Eiswein
            Duerkheimer Fronhof - Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese
            I haven't tried but, maybe these will suit you
            Out here in S. California (!) Yep, there are harvesters who capped on our heavy frost that settled back in January/February. Probably the only growers that did, as the frost killed much of the citrus and avocado orchards. Call around and do some investigating because I know it was on the news about the "new ice wine" craze/excitment. Try these places too: http://www.ojaivineyard.com/newojaivi...
            Laguna Canyon Wines Santa Barbara//www.lagunacanyonwinery.com - 001 Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest Ice Wine
            Good Luck :)KQ

            3 Replies
            1. re: Kitchen Queen

              Dang, even though we were out there, just as the freezes abated, I had forgotten about this event, and had not thought of the possible implications. The thought of maybe having a real Californian Icewine intrigues me. I have a "thing" for Icewine/Eisewein, and will have to look for/inquire of my normal suspects, if they did one. Thanks for the memory jog.

              As has been mentioned already, Randall Grahm (Bonny Doon), has done a lot of different "cryo-icewines." At one time, his portfolio of such wines was extensive, and the wines were good, though lacking in authenticity. Lately, I have only seen a few varietals from Bonny Doon.


              1. re: Kitchen Queen

                The Laguna Canyon Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc appears to be an ice wine only in that the juice was 'frozen for three years' to carmelize the flavors (I alwaysthoughtthat freezing suspended changes in things), and some of the fruit was botrytised. Not an authentic method I don't think......but if it tastes good.....

                1. re: Midlife

                  Midlife -

                  You may be right. When reported on our local news about "icewines", technically, to be a true ice wine, my understanding is that the grapes must be frozen (by weather) kept frozen and squeezed while frozen, then processed to assure the transfer of the sugars. I'm sure there's plenty of pseudos comin' round as a result of the latest freeze and trying to pass themselves as authentic...So. Cal stigma sorry to say, (trying to pass as authentic) guess the vintners have picked up on the idea too.....(ha ha) :)KQ

              2. As others have stated, Eisewein and "moderately priced," are seldom used in the same paragraph, let alone sentence. That said, you might want to look for Sichele. They usually have some good (albeit not great) Eiseweins and are moderately priced. As for a NYC retailer, I cannot help you.

                Last Sichele Eisewein that I had was the '01, and it is listed in my database as costing US$32.50/ 0.375. Understand that it is not "world-class," by anyone's standards, but has always been (in my opinion) better than all of the various Niagra Icewines, either from US, or Canada, and many/most of these have been around the same price-point. I find that the GR Eiseweins have far more complexity, than do the US/CA counterparts, which I find one-dimensional - read "SWEET." [Caps intended]


                11 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Bill -

                  Also check with Los Olivos wineries (Santa Barbara County). They might have something you're interested in. I'm not much of a wine/alcohol drinker - VERY illergic but, I have an appreciation and enjoy wine tasting which is very popular in Los Olivos. Been to Gainey Vineyards most recently, it's a beautiful place. Next time you visit So.Cal. make the journey. It's a day trip from the NW end of L.A. County (San Fernando Valley area). Also you MUST eat at Hitching Post in nearby Buellton. All from the movie Sideways. Hitching Post is a gem! KQ
                  www.losolivosca.com and http://www.hitchingpost2.com/restaura...

                  1. re: Kitchen Queen

                    Thanks for the "heads up." I am a member of Gainey, but have not seen anything from them. OTOH, I would not expect that a small producer would have a rare US-Icewine in their member's selections, but will call them.

                    I have not been to the C Coast in a few years, but love the wines and wineries. Next trip to the Coast, I'll try some of my favorites, and see what nature may have wrought. Had not thought about that either.

                    Last trip was pre-Sideways, so I visited some of the spots, *before* they were known. I have spent most of the last few year's wine-country travels in places like Amador/Sierra Foothills, just to bypass the "Sideways" groups. Next trip over, I will try the Hitching Post. It should be safe now!


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Don't assume anything. Wineries are trying all sorts of stuff out here. Please don't pass up the Los Olivos area. It's an easy drive from L.A. My hubby and I love the country side there and go to the wineries then take the back road into Santa Barbara for dinner before driving home. Competition is growing and there's Temecula too - "hot spot"- 1 1/2 hr SE from LA. www.tvbwf.com and www.foodreference.com
                      Amador Valley is beautiful but, don't forget Calveras and the Lompoc area! You must also take a journey along the Russian River. Full of very cool wineries, scenery and fab winery cafe's. Petaluma, Healdsburg, Calistoga, Guerneville, etc. Love Bodega Bay. I think what's over run is the Napa/Sonoma area. But, t.m.h.o. Ok nuf said. Time to get back to my last bottle of Gainey and the UCLA/IND hoop game....KQ

                      1. re: Kitchen Queen

                        Given the opportunity, I'd *never* miss the C Coast, if only to go to Beckman.

                        To get a bit off the Icewine topic, I have to ask how things are going in Temecula. We were there 10 years back, and, from a commercial point, it was very slow. Then, the glassywing sharpshooter hit with Pierce's, and I heard that many/most vineyards had to be replanted. We drove through a month ago, but had to get over to La Quinta in a hurry, and had no time for wine. Is Temecula springing back?


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          B.H. - Temecula and Murrieta have always been rather sleepy but, in the last 10 years, booming. Amount of vineyards are growing and homes $$$$. However, I think you're more on top than I re: Temecula - On the news this very minute: Temecula residents are fighting the development of a rock quarry..... Seems like you frequent the greater L.A. area or CA , if not, I'll be happy to do a spec drive for you sometime. Makes a nice day trip and I can do a little wine tasting. Time for hot air balloon trips too! I DO frequent the desert however, as I have family there. La Quinta was this week, host to the annual arts fest. and nearby tennis tourny. - Saw Pete Sampras play one year... Here's a couple of upcoming events: http://www.stagecoachfestival.com/tic... and http://www.coachella.com :)KQ

                          1. re: Kitchen Queen

                            Normally, we find ourselves in the SF-environs more often, than LA. However, we have several meetings in SD, so we often head up-Coast. Also, if we drive to SF (the Landcruiser can hold 19 styro-shippers of wine), we do skirt LA on the trip. Most often we fly to SF and I'll do Santa Cruz Mtns, one trip, Napa another, Amador/Sierra or Sonoma, yet another.

                            I have to admit that I know very little of the LA Area, even though we drive past it quite often. I'd love any recs. on dining there, and will just break the drive up into two days. I also have been acquiring a wonderful Chard, Ch. Burbank, though the winemaker's vineyards are in the C. Coast area.

                            Next trip to SD, I'll head back to Temecula, and see what is happening. Also, next trip to SF, I'll explore Livermore Valley, an area with wines, that I like (Wente, for example), but one that I have never traveled to.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              BH - See you're in my backyard. My sister lives in Glendale and everything Thanksgiving, we go to Glendale glitters. The best thing goin' is the caramel apples! yummo. Click on my photo of the monarch butterfly. :) Kitchen Queen

                              1. re: Kitchen Queen

                                In the nine years in the Valley, we've never done the Glendale Glitters. Will have to try the apples, on your rec. We're in North Central PHX, and do not get out to Glendale all that often.

                                There was a good, albeit not great, German restaurant in downtown Glendale, Haus Murphy. We have done it on several occassions, but have not been, since Glendale became a "destination" location. Here to for, with the few exceptions like Haus Murphy, the dining was wanting - all chain. With the recent changes there, I hope that some creative chefs open up, and do well, in that area of the Valley.

                                To attempt to get back on track, please keep me informed of any CA Icewines, considering last Winter's weather. Over the years, I have been very underwhelmed by the Canadian/NY Icewines - too cloying and one-dimensional. Glad that you pointed out the weather (like I had missed it or something - just did not see the big, wine picture), and I'll keep a lookout for some interesting "real" Icewines. IMHO, much of what Randall Grahm did at BD, was better than most of the authentic wines from the NE and Canada.

                                Thanks for the recs.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  catch my email dude and I will be happy to. KQ the monarch butterfly!

                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                Have to caution about Temecula. There are something like two dozen wineries there that valiantly work toward developing that appellation (not much outside fruit sourcing that I can tell). The winery 'experience' there is typical and worth doing, especially for those who don't get to the more northerly AVAs, and for those whose palates are either not that experienced or are 'accepting' enough to take it as it is there. This is NOT Napa, Sonoma or the Central Coast. Not sure I could put that any more diplomatically...... I DID try.

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Better to play in the Santa Cruz Mountains, IMHO, than the Livermore Valley. But that's just me ...

                    2. Most stores in Manhattan have a limited variety of these--4-6 at most unless it is a top end store but you may pay a bit more. My suggestion is to experiment based on the above. Try buying an Inniskillin variety (more expensive) and something less costly and compare.

                      1. the austrian producer, Huber, makes a great eiswein that retails for a little less than $40. Definitely cheaper than most German and Canadian icewines and i feel it delivers every bit the same quality.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: BostonCorkDork

                          Do not know Huber, but a good Eisewein for US$40 (assume 0.375ltr) is worth seeking out. Thanks.

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            huber also makes some lovely single vineyard gruners - alte setzen is moderately priced and delivers lots of fresh green peppery apple flavor.

                        2. Go to Vintage. They carry only New York State wines. They have some ice wines that are very nice for pretty reasonable prices, much less than Inniskillin (which is fabulous, but very expensive). You can even taste before you buy.

                          They have a location in SOHO and a location uptown (UWS?).

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: MRich

                            I don't know if you can get these in New York, but there are some nice ice wines from Pennsylvania as well. I bought one from a winery in the Lehigh Valley area when I was there, but I can't remember which winery it was from, either Blue Mountain(?) or Galen Glen.

                            1. re: MRich

                              Inniskillin and Jackson Triggs make good icewines that I assume are readily available in NYC. However, very good icewines can be had from producers such as Cave Spring and Henry of Pelham. I believe both have agents in NY State.

                              Some may argue that better value-for-money sweet wines from Canada are Late Harvest Riesling and Vidal. All four CDA wineries listed make excellent LH wines.


                              1. re: niagara_wine_guy

                                I recently had a cabernet franc from California. It did not convince me but I will definitely try it again. Anyway, as part of my research on this wine, I learned that Iniskillin make a cabernet franc ice wine. Are you familiar with this wine and do you have any comments?

                                BTW, Iniskillin and Cave Spring ice wines are readily available in the NYC metro area. I have also seen Cave Spring but not Henry of Pelham.

                                1. re: ambrose


                                  Sorry about the delay. Inniskillin have been making Cab. Franc icewine for over 10 years, are are very good at it. It is the most expensive wine in their current portfolio, as it is extremely revered in Asia. It shows a beautiful rhubarb/red currant flavour and has razor-sharp acidity. I tried a 1997 last week, and it was still fresh!

                                  I forgot to mention in my earlier posting that Chateau des Charmes makes a great riesling icewine - among the best i've tried from Austria/Germany/Canada. They usually hold the icewine back about a year longer, and thus, it develops that slick texture on the palate, as well as beautiful mid-maturity aromas that only riesling can offer.

                                  Hope this helps!

                              2. re: MRich

                                Yup, I wanted to suggest Vintage NY. The uptown store is on UES, and the winery and store are near New Paltz, NY. The neat thing about the store, they have $5 tastings that if you buy go towards your purchase.

                                1. re: welle

                                  I think the tastings are $10 now.