Mainz Daily Photo

>Make mine….#1184


…an Eiswein.

Another NQM moment.

The Eiswein monument is a mere hsaaj down river in Bingen, opposite the Niederwalddenkmal (in the far distance, commemorating the creation of the German empire at the end of the Franco-Prussian war).

Here’s the story.

1829 was a shocking year for vintners. The grapes were so sour that the farners left them hanging on the vines. A hard winter, too, and things became so desperate (11 Feb 1830) that the farmers starting picking the dried bunches for cattle fodder.

Someone tried a grape out of curiosity, got bowled by the concentrated sweetness and thought “Sod the cows, I’m keeping this for myself”

To make Eiswein you need:

Grapes left on the vine
Temperatures down to -7ºC and below
People willing to get up at stupid o’clock and pick grapes.
People willing to get up at stupid o’clock and press grapes in unheated cellars.

The trick is that the grapes have shrivelled to raisin-like dimensions, concentrating the flavours and the frost does the rest by turning any remaining fluid into ice crystals.

If you’re lucky (and quick), you’ll be able to press the grapes before the ice turns to water and you’re left with pure nectar that’s then magically turned into a wine that’s both hens’-teeth-rare and pricey.

The Americans, of course, do it differently.

They just whack the stuff in a commercial freezer and pump the stuff out by the hectolitre.

Or hectogallon

This entry was published on 11 December, 2010 at 12:00. It’s filed under Culinary, Mainz and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “>Make mine….#1184

  1. >Another of those things that are so surprising–that someone thought of them at all. "stupid o'clock"–is it really a requirement of the old way?

  2. >Hi JB – wish you could have joined Kate and me yesterday for coffee, treats and blog talk!

  3. >WE don't like getting up at stupid o'clock over here. I thought that vine was made of wire and was sort of sculputure. One question, is it sweet? If so, you can keep your hectorlitres.V

  4. >Oh, those impatient Americans! PS. Check Leif's Eagan post for this Sat. for a surprise!!

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