Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

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Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:44 am

Rolling it out there a day or two early since the weekend starts the new month. It's wide open for your enjoyment, your pick of sweet wines in any style, fortified, late harvest, vin doux naturel, whatever makes you happy. Compare, contrast, look for the QPR or celebrate your price-is-no-object favorites to mark the holidays!
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Salil » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:10 pm

Seeing as you're starting early, I'll jump in early with a few notes.

Two wines poured at different points of a dinner last week, one barely sweet now, the other served as/with dessert, both sublime.

1990 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #3
A fragrance full of smoke and petrol leading into a palate full of bright fruit that might have been chiseled from stone, accented by fresh herbal and leafy notes and developed savoury, creamy and smoky flavours. Drinking wonderfully now with gentle, restrained sweetness, powerful acidity keeping it amazingly precise and vibrant, just wow.
1990 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Beerenauslese
An insane fragrance; high toned floral and spicy notes, honey and a spectrum of Riesling fruit ranging from ripe citrus and baked apple to more exotic pineapple and other tropical flavours; so much going on here that it's hard to put into words. There's tremendous power, intensity and sweetness on the palate - just what I'd expect from a BA - but it has the same blazing acidity and precision as the '90 Domprobst Spätlese poured earlier, keeping it amazingly vibrant and fresh. Thrilling.

And a couple from a dinner I hosted earlier this month...

1992 Müller-Catoir Haardter Herrenletten Gewürztraminer Eiswein
A deep orange gold colour that had me worrying if this might be oxidized/past it, but it's in great shape - a core of ripe pineapples, apricots and lychees seasoned with high toned spicy and floral notes and rich honeyed elements. It's intensely rich and sweet, but very well balanced at the same time with amazing intensity and stunning length.
1880 Whitwham Porto Millennium
Oh, my. This is a real treat. A remarkable nutty, sweet fragrance that's hard to put into words, and just amazing complexity on the palate with nutty, smoky, caramel, savoury and so many other dimensions of flavour coming together here that it's hard to put it into words. The balance is impeccable, there's stunning length and finesse - this is really something special. Thanks Marco.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:38 am

I cannot begin to match Salils port but I have always had a soft spot for Ch Climens so was happy to see the `04 opened at a dinner party for wine store staff and associates.

WTN: 2004 Chateau Climens Barsac.

I thought drinking nicely now but would love to return to this in say 10 yrs time! Lovely fragrant nose of flowers and white stonefruit. Medium bodied, not too sweet, apricot, marmalade, zippy, long finish. Went very well with Portuguese custard tartlets.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:49 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Rolling it out there a day or two early since the weekend starts the new month. It's wide open for your enjoyment, your pick of sweet wines in any style, fortified, late harvest, vin doux naturel, whatever makes you happy. Compare, contrast, look for the QPR or celebrate your price-is-no-object favorites to mark the holidays!

Does "warm-climate" pinot noir count? :wink:
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:53 pm

With holiday season fast approaching, do not forget this gem!

TN: 2010 Michele Chiarlo Moscato d`Asti Nivole Piedmont It.

L B181, 5% alc, from 375 ml, popped and poured. Always delicious, honeysuckle, nectarine, floral, peach nose. Nice refreshing effervescence on entry, lengthy, peach, not that sweet at all and does not cloy. "Candied orange" from across the table, very nice and consistent wine from Michele C.

Should be a winner at any Xmas dinner table :wink:
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:27 am

Well warm year German Riesling Spatlese should count. I loved that 2003 Donnhoff Hermannshohle Spatlese (note in main forum), but it really was a quite large auslese!
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Joy Lindholm » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:18 am

For my birthday last week (which in my mind is a holiday!), my love got me a bottle of the following to pear with a dessert of duck fat fried brioche doughnuts:

2008 Heidi Schröck "On the Wings of the Dawn" Ruster Ausbruch (34% Welschriesling, 33% Weissburgunder, 33% Sauvignon Blanc)

If you haven't ever had the good fortune to taste this wine - seek it out immediately! I agree with Terry Theise that it is all bacon, french toast and maple syrup in a glass. Luminous golden color with coppery hues; aromas of honeyed apricots, toffee, candied nuts and sticky buns. On the palate it truly sings - this is the nectar of the gods! Poached pear, caramel apple, honey, pralines, everything from the aroma carries on and I could go on and on.....This wine needs no dessert - it IS dessert.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Sam Platt » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:42 pm

Joy,

I have a 2000 Heidi Schröck Ruster Ausbruch Riesling x Silvaner in my cellar that I picked up on a business trip to Austria. When I asked Heidi about drinking window she told me to hold unto it until 2015 if I could. Glad to hear that one of her relatively young wines is drinking so well.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Joy Lindholm » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:30 pm

Sam Platt wrote:Joy,

I have a 2000 Heidi Schröck Ruster Ausbruch Riesling x Silvaner in my cellar that I picked up on a business trip to Austria. When I asked Heidi about drinking window she told me to hold unto it until 2015 if I could. Glad to hear that one of her relatively young wines is drinking so well.


Yes, everything that woman touches turns out amazing! I'm sure that the one you are referring to would be great now, but if you only have one, best being patient and waiting until she recommends. I am lucky enough to be at a restaurant that has several of the "Wings of the Dawn" bottles, so we can taste them now and I will most likely hold one back for several years. I'm sure it will pay off to see how this evolves in 10-15 years time.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby JC (NC) » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:20 am

2009 Michael Shaps Monticello Raisin d'Etre. Produced and bottled by Virginia Wineworks in Charlottesville, VA. 14% alcohol by volume. 375 ml. bottle. 60% Cabernet Franc, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The whimsical name of this wine could have been invented by David Bueker. As the "raisin" suggests, it is a dessert wine. Darkly colored and mostly opaque. I started with the wine chilled and the nose was pretty well concealed so I let it breathe and warm up a bit. The nose flirts between plum and prune with maybe some figgy pudding to add complexity. On the palate it does suggest raisins--also prunes, cassis and cocoa powder. On the second evening it reminded me somewhat of vintage Port.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Ian Sutton » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:42 pm

Here's one that's nominally a sweet wine, but we'd been usefully tipped off by the wine shop that it wasn't very sweet at all. It did however match very nicely with Smoked Salmon and scrambled eggs.

1989 François Pinon Vouvray Moelleux Premiere Trie - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray (12/16/2012)
Lemon-gold coloured with an intriguingly nose that mixes apricot skin and honey with something more savoury along the lines of crushed bran-flakes.
Some sweetness on the palate but less than you'd expect, and it's complex and diverse in flavours. Apricot/apricot skin, plus orange zest/grapefruit, mixed with fennel and a hint of butter. Long finish that finishes almost dry with just a touch of bitterness.
Really fine.

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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:45 am

1998 Wolf Blass Noble Gold Botrytis Riesling, South Australia.

I was hoping this would be a better show than the `01 which I had to pour down the sink!

Good natural cork, 10.5% alc, 375 ml. 18 brix sugar at harvest, 114g residual sugar per litre. Despite a rather light brown colour, showed up nicely with pumpkin pie. Hint of caramel on the nose but entry was apricots, peach and hint of orange marmalade, just hanging in though. No future folks.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:44 pm

I reckon it's done well to last 14 years Bob - too many of the aussie sweet wine producers used to struggle with balancing sweetness with acidity (and that might be down to site choice / terroir). Not sure if it's better now.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Ryan M » Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:16 am

From last night, with a friend. See my WTN thread for the rest of the lineup.

Chateau Suduiraut, Sauternes 2003
From half bottle. Golden, with some burnish starting to show. The nose is an explosion of hazelnut, with apricot, barley sugar notes; abundant floral notes emerge with air. Similar on the palate, with loads of honeyed apricot; as it opens, caramel and lots of burnt sugar/toffee notes. A very rich, burnished style but with a prominent, driving vein of tangerine-like acidity keeping everything in good balance. Sadly little to no botrytis influence apparent, but this is warm and rich (probably the hot vintage showing), and my lord is it dense and intense. It seems to me that it is at a transition point, with the primary fruit beginning to pull back, but maturity only just being hinted at, and I think another 10 years would benefit it greatly. This could live a long time I think, perhaps another 30 years. 4 Stars.
Last edited by Ryan M on Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby JC (NC) » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:14 pm

I'm glad for your note Ryan. I bought three of these (375 ml.) upon release and opened one at an offline in San Francisco over two years ago. I look forward to having the remaining two, probably over the next five years since I'm not getting younger. I opened a 2005 Sauternes for Christmas and will report on it perhaps later today and will also report on a 20-year Sandeman Tawny Port that I will open for New Year's Eve and day.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Ryan M » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:08 pm

JC (NC) wrote:I'm glad for your note Ryan. I bought three of these (375 ml.) upon release


Glad to be able to give you an update - for my tastes, I'd wait awhile on your other bottles. Forgot to note that mine was a 375 as well. Will add to the note.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Bill Hooper » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:00 am

Salil wrote:
1992 Müller-Catoir Haardter Herrenletten Gewürztraminer Eiswein
A deep orange gold colour that had me worrying if this might be oxidized/past it, but it's in great shape - a core of ripe pineapples, apricots and lychees seasoned with high toned spicy and floral notes and rich honeyed elements. It's intensely rich and sweet, but very well balanced at the same time with amazing intensity and stunning length.


Hi Salil,

I got the chance to talk to Hans-Günter Schwarz about Eiswein at our company Christmas dinner last week (as we were drinking Eiswein.) I asked him how on earth he was able to produce such outstanding Eiswein from a variety like Gewürztraminer (which is very difficult to do as gewürz usually requires long maceration times for the varietal character to emerge, something that isn’t possible for Eiswein which needs to be pressed immediately.) He only made Gewürztraminer Eiswein three times in his long career and credits the health of the vines in those vintages (picked in November or December as he recalls, not January), and the clone for the success of those wines. The Herrenletten was planted with Gewürztraminer cuttings from a parcel that his brother had cultivated in Bad Dürkheim many years prior, most likely from a very old clone (the exact clone/clones was/were unknown to Hans-Günter.) Unfortunately, the vineyard was ripped out after he left Müller-Catoir, so we’ll probably never know. But yes –a remarkable wine!

Cheers,
Bill
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Andrew Bair » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:03 pm

Been a very busy month around here - haven't had much time to post anything here until now, but here are a few.

2004 Fattoria Selvapiana Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina DOC
95% Trebbiano Toscano/5% Malvasia Bianca Lunga. From 375 ml bottle. Oxidative/nutty nose. Full, sweet, elegant, nicely balanced, with good underlying acidity; tastes of walnuts, caramel, oranges, and red berries. Excellent.

2003 Fèlsina Berardenga Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC
From 375 ml bottle. Blend of Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia Bianca Lunga, and Sangiovese. Lightly oxidative nose. Smooth, nicely balanced, with moderate acidity; shows notes of caramel, raisins, roasted nuts, red fruits, and baking spices. Excellent.

2001 Domaine Philippe Delesvaux Coteaux du Layon Sélection de Grains Nobles
From 500 ml bottle. Tropical//botrytis/wet wool/baking spice nose. Moderately viscous, well balanced, with moderate acidity – enough acidity for now, but not enough in my view where it will age as long as the greatest Chenins. Tastes of apricots, tropical fruits, baked apples, and honey. Very good; better than the last time that I tried this wine five years ago, when it seemed slightly flabby to me.

1998 Azienda Agricola Gino Pedrotti Vino Santo Trentino DOC
100% Nosiola. From 375 ml bottle. Moderately viscous, well balanced, with good underlying acidity; shows honeyed, caramel, mixed berry, and apricot notes. Not oxidative, as much Vin [sic] Santo from Tuscany is. Excellent.

Thanks to everyone else for all of their interesting notes in this thread!
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:36 pm

2009 Mullineux Family Wines Chenin Blanc Straw Wine (South Africa, Coastal Region, Swartland).

100% Chenin Blanc, split, $32 Cdn.

Light orange in colour, fresh and clean on the nose apricots and hint of almonds. Entry viscous and unctous but the acidity is good. Rich stone fruits, peach, quince and apricots. Masses of length, wonderful poise with lots going on here. I think I will hold for at least 8 yrs...Keith Protheroe is an investor and has popped in here from time to time. I have no connection with winery.

http://mullineuxwines.com/the-winery
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:02 pm

2009 Tobin James Charisma, Zinfandel Dessert Wine. Absolutely wonderful with chocolates tonight.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby JC (NC) » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:55 pm

2005 Chateau La Tour Blanche 1er Cru Sauternes, France. 14% abv. 375 ml. bottle. This vintage of La Tour Blanche did not get very favorable reviews on CellarTracker and I have to concur. Bronze gold color. First taste impression was apricot nectar. Although I love apricots, this wine was disappointing. I can't really say what is off except that it's a one-note wine that is not very satisfying. Several times I considered pouring it down the drain, but instead I had a 1.5-2 oz. pour every evening until I finished it. Tonight I will open a Sandeman 20-year Tawny Port to welcome in the New Year and will report on it over the next couple days.
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:56 pm

Sandemans on NYE..nice! I will join you JC as I have ten LBVs to choose from here :mrgreen:
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Re: Wine Focus for December: Sweet wines for the holidays

Postby JC (NC) » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:44 pm

On New Year's Eve I opened a Sandeman 20-Year Tawny Port bottled in 2010. 20% abv. Leggy. Dark amber color with transparency. Caramel, nuts and faint wood such as shake shingles on nose. Caramel and orange peel on the palate. Some prune notes present but not as dominant as in some Tawny Ports. I love that this is laid back and mellow and smooth--not feeling hot from the alcohol content.
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