I am a sucker for dessert wine. I mean who needs cake, when you have wine? Especially ice cold, sweet, syrupy sippers…
Last night I enjoyed this beautiful Far Niente Winery Dolce 2011 Napa Valley Late Harvest Wine, as well as this Châeau Du Rey 2012 Sauternes.
There are a number of different styles of dessert wines. Let’s briefly talk about a few of my favorites!
When done right, late harvest wines are the perfect end to any fun wine night. The grapes are picked after they reach their prime (normally 1-2 months after), making the flavors sweeter and more concentrated. The results: higher alcohol wines with higher residual sugar.
Oh yes… Botryized wines in particular Sauternes, or should I say “liquid gold!” Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region in Bordeaux. The grape has has been affected by “noble rot” which allows the grape to become partially raisined. This makes for a very concentrated and distinct wine. Hey, I can definitely get down with this type of rot.
Ice wine is wine that is produced by freezing the grapes when they are still hanging on the vine. When the grapes freezes it dehydrates and amplifies the sugars creating a super intense and complex wine. True ice wine occurs naturally (no artificial freezing) and normally all done by hand. The first accounts of ice wine dates back to the 1700s!
Vin Santo is a super unique style of wine that comes from Tuscany. Sometimes these wines are referred to as “Straw Wines” as they are often dried on a warm straw mat in the winery in well-ventilated area. They can also be hung under rafters to dry. Though they are a dessert wine they can come in a variety of sweetness levels. After they are aged in small oak barrels, they may be required (by some DOCs) to be aged for a minimum of three years!
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