“Ice Wine”

By , February 10, 2015

When our weather turned cold enough that I could make apple jack (see Free Drinks) I used the cold to kill yeast in a few batches of wine that continue to work slowly long after they should have been ready to bottle. As I’ve mentioned before in posts about wine making, we get a fair amount of carbonation in some batches. While Michelle rather likes it, I try to avoid it, purist that I am. Most of a day in single digit temperatures seems to have sealed the deal.

I took one of the batches even further. I started it a year ago, last January, in fact. It has matured nicely, with a good full bodied, dry flavor, but retains a definite carbonation. I’ve been trying to degas it for the last couple of months. I even added campden tablets to it, something I try to avoid. After sitting outside in the cold, the carbonation stayed strong, so I decided to experiment. I stuck it out on the rock in the door yard next to the apple jack to let it freeze.

Jacking batches: wine (l) and hard cider (r): (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Jacking batches: wine (l) and hard cider (r): (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

I understand that any fermented beverage can be jacked; Distilling through freezing, I got a small amount of homemade brandy, which, technically, the apple jack is, also.

I’m not much of a brandy drinker, but I do like port, which is fortified wine, meaning wine that has been “fortified” with stronger spirits, particularly brandy. I have yet to try the results, but it should be nice.

I had thought that our temperatures might be a bit mild for jacking, but the wine froze so hard I got very little distillate.No matter. I thawed the frozen wine, and found that all trace of carbonation had disappeared. I judge that this batch is finally ready to bottle.

I understand that ice wine has become popular recently. This would be wine made with grapes that have frozen on the vine. It started as an effort to minimize loss when Mother Nature fails to cooperate with commercial wine making, but the sweeter wine produced apparently has its attractions. I’m not making ice wine here, but I’m definitely working with ice to make something a little different, but hopefully enjoyable.

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