Despite the record temperatures in autumn and winter 2015, the sharp drop in temperatures in January allowed the harvest of the last grapes under the best conditions in order to produce ice wine. However, the majority of vintners had already abandoned all hope, preferring to harvest the grapes they had left on the vines earlier in order to produce lat harvest wines, instead of risking losing them to molds.
A Moselle rarity
It's got to be said: ice wine is a rarity, because very specific meteorological conditions are needed in order to produce it. Thus, it needs to freeze and temperatures have to drop to at least -7°C in order for the resultung wine to be allowed top bear the label 'ice wine'. It's clear that some years may pass without any ice wine production.
However, 2015 is going to have its ice wine. With temperatures exceeding -10°C, conditions were perfect. Under the control of the Wine Growing Institute (Institut vini-viticole, IVV), three domains harvested grapes: Alice-Hartmann (Wormeldange), Schumacher-Lethal (Wormeldange) and Madame Aly Duhr (Ahn). The juice bears Oechsle values (sugar content) of between 152 and 178 degrees - 120 degrees are the minimum required by the law.
From now on, the juice enters the fermentation stage, a critical stage for the production of each wine. The result of this stage is going to determine whether the product will be credited with the label 'ice wine'. But even if all goes according to plan, only a few hundred liters of ice wine will be available. A must for fans!
Discover the other specialties
Apart from the ice wine, Luxembourg's vintners also produce two other wine specialties: the late harvest wines and the straw wine. Late wines ('vendange tardive') are wines for which the grapes have been harvested well after the actual harvest, which must be Auxerrois, Pinot blanc, Riesling or Gewürztraminer varieties and whose Oechsle degree is at least 105 (95 for Riesling). The straw wine – or Stréiwäin in Luxembourgish – has two particularities: 18% alcohol content and 130 degrees on the Oechsle scale.
(article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)