On 1st December 2018 – Romania´s Centenary Day! – after 3 days of frost with minimum temperatures between -7 and -9 ° C, we picked the last grapes of Negru de Drăgășani, frozen. For the first time in the last 17 years, weather conditions allowed us to harvest frozen grapes for vinification – “Icewine” or “Eiswein” or “Vin de Glace”, as this wine is called in countries such as Germany or Canada, where it has already become a tradition.
What happens exactly in a frozen grape? Some of the water inside the grapes freezes, the sugar, the acidity and the flavours are concentrated in the remaining juice, in the meat and the skin of the grapes. It is only this very concentrated juice that flows through the press, as the ice, being a compact substance, remains on the press.
In order to obtain this result, the grapes must be harvested and pressed early in the morning, at temperatures below -7 degrees. The work is tough and the resulting quantity of wine is ten times smaller than a “regular” wine.
The result is convincing, however, and proves to be worth the effort: a concentrated bouquet of fruits fills the nose, and the sugar concentrated at 230 g per liter, well integrated by the stable acidity, amplify the intense aromas of fruits and spices in the mouth.
This “Vin de Glace” is a wonderful companion for festive occasions: either as an aperitif, as accompaniment to a duck or game paté, but also to a fruitful dessert, ice cream or sorbet. An interesting composition may be obtained with ripe or blue cheese. The salty, slightly bitter notes of the cheese together with the fruity and sweet aromas of the concentrated wine create an extraordinary culinary experience.
This wine is bottled in a limited edition of 1,918 bottles of 0,375 l. You may find it in specialized wine shops or directly at our Stirbey Winery in Drăgășani. You can also find it in our online wine shop: stirbey.com
Ileana & Jakob Kripp