2012 Esporao Late Harvest White

2012 Esporao Late Harvest White

2012 Esporao Late HarvestI’m a fan of wines produced by Esporao and at a recent luncheon hosted by David Baverstock, Chief Winemaker of Esporao, I learned a late harvest wine is produced by the famed winery. I love sweet wines and was intrigued by this Semillon-based late harvest.

In the glass, the color is a medium straw color. The nose is of intense tropical fruit with sweet citrus notes. The fruitiness continues on the palate with a bit of honey on the long finish. The wine is rich without being heavy on the palate. There’s great acidity on this nicely-balanced wine. Not cloyingly sweet as many of the more affordable wines can be.

Pairings: Foie gras, blue cheese, desserts that aren’t overly sweet – stone fruit tarts, roasted figs.

Style: Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Semillon

Region: Alentejo, Portugal

Price: $17 (375 ml bottle)

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding it to my repertoire as it’s truly enjoyable.

2007 Heron Hill Ingle Vineyard Riesling Icewine

2007 Heron Hill Ingle Vineyard Riesling Icewine

2007 Heron Hill Riesling IcewineThis dessert wine is made from a small section of Ingle Vineyard’s younger vines (15 years old) and the grapes are harvested when frozen then hand-sorted.

In the glass, it’s strikingly golden with juicy tropical fruit, honey and jammy fig aromas. This is a rich and intense wine that’s not overly sweet and offers ripe apple flavors and a nice level of acidity.

Glad I secured four bottles of this delicious wine when I last visited Heron Hill as it’s now sold out.

Pairings: Cheese course, stone fruit or caramel desserts

Style: Sweet / Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Riesling

Region: Finger Lakes, NY, USA

Price: $49.99 (375ml)

Alba Vineyard – New Jersey Wines Anyone?

Alba Vineyard – New Jersey Wines Anyone?

Alba SignAward-winning Alba Vineyard is located in the rolling hills of Warren County in Milford, New Jersey. The winery and tasting room reside in an 1805-converted stone barn with an striking wood tasting bar, rustic stonewalls and old oak beams.

During our visit, Caroline, our Alba Vineyard Ambassador, let us sample several Alba wines. She was a gracious host and shared information about each wine and about the history of the winery founded in 1980. Alba is the only winery in New Jersey to only use French oak barrels. Head winemaker John Altmaier uses each barrel a maximum of four times then sells them to a local brandy and cognac maker.

Alba Outdoor Seating

Alba Outdoor Seating

The wines we enjoyed most are:

  • 2011 Dry Riesling ($16.99) – With this dry Riesling, winemaker John Altmaier endeavours to recreate the type of Rieslings produced in Alsace. The wine is rich yet crisp and had me craving Thai food. 100% Riesling.
  • Gewürztraminer ($18.99) – This floral wine with tons of pink grapefruit flavors won a gold medal at the Long Beach Grand Cru. A really pretty nice example of this aromatic varietal. 100% Gewurztraminer.
  • 2011 Chelsea Dry Rosé ($10.99) – Lovely light pink color from the Chambourcin skins, this crisp rosé offers big strawberry aromas and peach/strawberry flavors. Perfect wine to sip on a warm summer afternoon. 46% Cayuga, 46% Vidal Blanc, 8% Chambourcin.
  • 2010 Pinot Noir ($23.99) – Burgundian in style and light in the glass, this Pinot is full-bodied with big cherry flavors and a nice peppery finish. 100% Pinot Noir.
  • 2011 Barbera ($34.99) – This wine took me completely by surprise. Piedmont comes to Jersey? Round, elegant, velvety with great fruit flavor. 100% Barbera.
  • Red Raspberry ($16.99) – Was I just a bit skeptical of raspberry dessert wine? Yes. Was I pleasantly surprised after tasting it? Yes again. The raspberries used for this wine are picked at a local farm in Tewksbury. Simply a huge mouthful of raspberries enjoyable on its own and was super paired with dark chocolates during the tasting. Would be great in a cocktail also and Caroline suggested I replace the water in my favorite brownies recipe with this wine for a chocolate/raspberry combination that’s unbeatable. I’ll be trying that.
  • 2009 Vintage Port ($19.99) – While I’m not a huge Port fan, this Chambourcin-based version is pretty grand. Jammy fig flavors with just a hint of sweetness. Was gorgeous with dark chocolate and would be great with a cheese plate. 100% Chambourcin.

Alba’s Chelsea Cellars is a line of hand-crafted wines made with grapes from Sagemoor Vineyards, one of the most respected growers if the Columbia Valley of Washington state. Alba sources the finest Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Sagemoor to create the Chelsea Cellars wines. To ensure the freshest fruit possible, the grapes are shipped to New Jersey within 72 hours of picking.

The regular tasting is $10/person and the private tasting and tour is $15/person (must include 4 or more guests). Tastings are paired with cheeses, flat breads, seasonal fruits or appetizers.

Alba Vineyard

Store and Tasting Room

Guests are encouraged to buy a bottle and take it outside to enjoy on the beautiful grounds of the property or under the arbor. I suggest you visit Alba before the winter comes, it’s a beautiful place with some of the best wines in the Garden State.

269 Rte 627, Milford, NJ 08848. (908) 995-7800.

The tasting room is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Veronique

2007 Echeverria Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

2007 Echeverria Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

2007 Echeverria Late Harvest Sauvignon BlancThis dessert wine is strikingly golden in the glass and offers ripe, juicy peach aromas. There’s a rich, coating mouthfeel, honey and fig jam flavors and a nice level of acidity on the finish of this little beauty.

The 2007 Echeverria Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc held up nicely to the caramel panna cotta but it was paired with at a recent dinner I attended.

Pairings: Cheese course, stone fruit or caramel desserts

Style: Sweet / Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Curico Valley, Chile

Price: $19.99 (375ml)

2010 Hermann J. Wiemer Select Late Harvest Riesling

2010 Hermann J. Wiemer Select Late Harvest Riesling

2010 Hermann J. Wiemer Select Late Harvest RieslingGolden in the glass, this Finger Lakes dessert wine is simply outstanding. The nose is sweet with honey and Meyer lemons. The honey continues in the mouth, in a non-cloying way, with a nice balance of sweetness and alcohol laced with notes of Asian pear.

Not many American dessert wines are better than this little number.

92 Points – Wine Spectator.

Pairings: Cheese course, stone fruit cobbler, custard-based desserts.

Style: Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Riesling

Region: Finger Lakes, NY, USA

Price: $52

2007 Rosenblum Cellars Gallagher Reserve Black Muscat

2007 Rosenblum Cellars Gallagher Reserve Black Muscat

2007 Rosenblum Cellars Gallagher Reserve Black MuscatWhat a fun wine. Sampled it as a dessert pairing at The Ryland Inn with chocolate cake and really enjoyed the true ‘grapy’ flavors. Unctuous yet not syrupy, this 100% Muscat dessert wine isn’t overly-sweet, offers nice chocolaty and exotic spices notes and has a nice level of acidity.

Pairings: Chocolate anything.

Style: Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Muscat

Region: Napa, California, USA

Price: $25

Vinedo de los Vientos Alcyone Tannat NV

Vinedo de los Vientos Alcyone Tannat NV

I enjoyed this red dessert wine from Uruguay at a local restaurant where the owner described it as ‘liquid raisinettes’. That quirky description might not fit in most wine reviews, but it was very much on par, and I opted to share it.

In the glass, this wine from Uruguay is deep purplish red with a bit of a syrupy consistency. On the nose, there are aromas of dark berries laced with pumpkin pie spices. In the mouth, the flavors are of dark raspberry and blackberries, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla.

Style: Red Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Tannat

Region: Atlantida, Canelones, Uruguay

Price: $23 (500ml)

2008 Dr Loosen Riesling Eiswein

2008 Dr Loosen Riesling Eiswein

I served this delicious dessert wine at a recent party and thoroughly enjoyed it.  On the nose, this German Eiswein is lively with floral and tropical notes. In the mouth, it is not too heavy and offers honeyed peach and pear flavors. The finish on the 2008 Dr Loosen Riesling Eiswein sees a little acidity to balance the not-too-sweet flavors.

93 points by Wine Spectator.

Pairings:  Cheese course, lightly salted nuts. Fantastic sipped on its own.

Style: Dessert Wine

Grape Type(s): Riesling

Region: Mosel, Germany

Around $40

 

The Finger Lakes for Wine Lovers

Photo Credit: Heron Hill Winery

I’m a huge fan of the Finger Lakes and its outstanding wines.  Here is an article of mine on traveling to the Finger Lakes and which wineries to visit along the way published by Jersey Bites.

Cheers,

Veronique

 

Chocolate Shop – Chocolate Red Wine

Chocolate Shop – Chocolate Red Wine

Last night, I had the pleasure of joining a group of wine writers for an online tasting of Chocolate Red Wine by Chocolate Shop.  I admit I was a bit pessimistic about yet another flavored wine, but this one surprised me.

The wine is a blend of multiple grapes (Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc…) that’s flavored with premium chocolate prior to bottling.  The wine is best enjoyed within 12 months of bottling – each bottle is lasered with the bottling date.

In the glass, this wine is a deep ruby with bold cherry cordial aromas.  On the palate, it’s less sweet/sugary than one might expect with the bold flavors of the fruity wine coming through.  On the finish, it’s smooth with a hint of sweet cocoa from the 7% residual sugar.

This wine would pair beautifully with rare duck or other game.  It might also work drizzled over premium vanilla ice cream.

The price point on this wine is $15 and it can be found at major liquor stores, grocery stores or via the winemaker’s website.

Cheers,

Veronique