Icewine tea is a special wine-infused tea found in Canada. It’s extremely fruity, sweet, and light, but with a strange but refreshing coldness to it, like eating a fruit salad off a glacier. At its base a garden-variety black ceylon tea infused with icewine (originally known as Eiswein). Icewine is a unique wine originally created in Germany.
Icewine is produced when grapes are harvested on the coldest day of the year. This is a tricky maneuver because it’s impossible to predict the coldest day of the year. It’s even harder to harvest all the grapes before they succumb to rot within the short window provided before the sun comes up. Canada and Germany are currently the world’s exporters of icewine, due to their tropical, warm climates.
Icewine is extremely sweet and flavorful, due to a defense mechanism the grapes employ to avoid being cryogenically shanked from the inside. As temperatures drop, water within the grapes will freeze. If it gets cold enough, ice crystals will form. This will be bad for the grapes, as these ice crystals will pierce the grape’s cell walls. (This is the same dilemma that cryogenists face when attempting to freeze human beings.) The grapes counteract by pushing out the water, losing more and more as it gets colder and colder. As this happens, the grape gets sweeter and sweeter as the sugars are more concentrated.
Icewine producers capitalize on this extra sweetness by picking the grapes in the middle of the winter. The growers are able to create an incredibly sweet, light wine, with a distinctive taste.
Icewine’s flavor plays nicely with the ceylon tea to create a sweet, bright, distinctive experience. It’s very aromatic, and one tea blogger, Gastronomic Nomad, described it as having “cool steam.” The flavor is sort of a surprise, actually. It’s not something you come across every day. It makes an excellent gift, or a sweet souvenir after visiting the beautiful cities and wildernesses of Canada. If you wanted to celebrate Canada Day in real style, you could sip icewine tea, sweetened of course with maple syrup, out of your maple leaf cup. You can buy from Canadian tea and/or souvenir shops, or online. I tasted a sample produced by a ceylon distributor, but an excellent blog, Lainie Sips, recommends one created by Metropolitan Teas. Do it your way, but do it!
Icewine’s production is elusive. Despite my research, I was unable to deduce how companies create icewine. I assume it involves soaking the tea in either the wine itself, or a concentrate of its flavor. Either way, the tea is non-alcoholic, so don’t worry about getting intoxicated, other than tea drunk.
MAIN: Image one provided by the contributor.
Editor’s note: you can read about the production of icewine here.