Skip to main content

The question

Does icewine improve with age or does it have an estimated shelf life?

The answer

That’s essentially a two-part question. My answers: no and sort of.

Icewine, Canada’s specialty dessert wine, generally does not improve with age. At least that’s my opinion. That said, there’s no need to fret much about a forgotten bottle in your cellar. Ten or 12 years won’t do much harm, if any.

Story continues below advertisement

I’ve addressed the topic before (you’re not the first to ask this relevant question) and I remain convinced that icewine is one of those exception wines. Just because it does not improve with age does not mean it will degrade sharply with moderate time in the cellar.

As you may know, it is an extremely sweet beverage, thick with natural grape sugar. That sugar acts as a preservative. And, of course, there’s alcohol and acidity in the bottle, too, which fend off bacteria. But for some reason icewine lacks the je ne sais quoi of, say, great Sauternes, a sweet white wine from Bordeaux famous for developing magical aromas and flavours with many decades in bottle. Sauternes is made in a different manner, with fungus-infected grapes rather than with grapes that have frozen on the vine. This no doubt has much to do with the difference.

If icewine were that sort of wine that did improve greatly with age, it almost certainly would have found a much wider following among wealthy collectors, the way such famous Sauternes as Château d’Yquem have. The auction market usually doesn’t lie.

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter