Harvesting a Liquid Dessert

August 31, 2011

Hafner Icewine

A review of the Hafner Gruner Veltliner Icewine 2002 and the story of the “Hot Toddy,” a classic curative cocktail.

There are times when you need to have something sweet. Cookies, cake, ice cream and even fruit usually quench that craving. But for a less caloric and often more interesting alternative, consider a late-harvest wine. More commonly known as “dessert wines,” late-harvest wines are among the world’s most desirable and expensive, with many bottles costing hundreds of dollars. Dessert wines are created in a number of fashions but most include harvesting the grapes after a prolonged growing season. Over time, the sugar levels increase and the flavors become more concentrated- and the results can be ephemeral.

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Wines Celebrate The Spirit Of St. Valentine

January 26, 2011

Mollydooker Carnival of Love

Some suggestions for Valentine’s Day wines including Cremant d’Alsace, Pedro Ximenez and several whose names reflect romance.

Many centuries ago, Euripides noted the intimate relationship between wine and passion: “Where there is no wine, there is no love.” The ancient Greek playwright undoubtedly was alluding to the aphrodisiacal qualities of wine’s myriad flavors. The choices for this Valentine’s Day include many wines that allow the full expression of this association along a broad range of styles

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French Impression: The Wines of Philip Togni

November 9, 2010

Philip Togni Vineyards

The wines of Napa’s legendary Philip Togni.

It is likely that you have never heard of Philip Togni. Yet he is responsible for some of the world’s most exquisitely flavored and beautifully structured wines since he began working in California over 50 years ago. And Togni (pronounced Tonne-yee) is still at it, working alongside his daughter Lisa at his eponymous winery located at an unmarked property near the summit of Napa’s Spring Mountain.

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Even More Dessert Wines To Please Your Palate

December 10, 2009

Quady Essensia

Part 2 of a look at dessert wines including Tokaji, Quady Essensia, Niagara Peninsula Ice Wines and Tawny Ports.

Last week, I wrote about the legendary dessert wines from the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France and the traditional off-dry Moscato d’Asti wines of Italy. But wine growing regions around the world have created unique methods dedicated solely to the art of producing these wines.

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How Sweet It Is: Dessert Wines – Part 1

December 3, 2009

Chateau La Tour Blanche Sauternes

Part 1 of a look at dessert wines including Sauternes and Moscato d’Asti.

Americans have a notorious sweet tooth. We crave doughnuts, candy bars and nearly every conceivable flavor of ice cream. So it’s surprising we have pretty much ignored dessert wines. These sweet wines have a higher residual sugar after fermentation than “dry” wines. When integrated with other distinct flavors and appropriate acidity for balance, the best sweet wines move beyond cloying and syrupy to rich and profound. Or just simply delightful and refreshing.

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Winning Wines From Maryland Well Worth Exploring

October 28, 2009

Elk Run Cabernet Franc

A look at some award-winning wines from Maryland.

Wine is now being produced in all 50 states, even in Alaska where some daring souls in Homer, Kodiak and Anchorage are using fruit and purchased grape concentrate to create them. Often starting with meager resources, as well as ample enthusiasm, winemakers located in lesser-known wine-producing areas struggle for acceptance even as the quality of their product continues to improve.

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With Wines, Old Is New Again

February 26, 2009

Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The pleasures of older wines.

I prefer “Chinatown” to the “The DaVinci Code,” “On The Waterfront” over “Gladiator” and will drop everything to watch “Casablanca.” Angelina Jolie certainly has her attributes but Ingrid Bergman has a vulnerable sadness. Older movies have a captivating elegance and charm that is often lacking in the more recent Hollywood blockbusters. A similar satisfaction can be found in various older wines.

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Local Wineries Deserve More Respect

October 14, 2008

Black Ankle Crumbling Rock

A look at some Maryland wineries.

Many regionally produced wines are as good as their West Coast cousins, although consumers often overlook them. With wine being made in all 50 states, it is fitting that attention be paid to the accomplishments of these small wineries.

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Four Cups, Four Wines – Why Not?

April 10, 2008

Goose Bay Pinot Noir

Some suggestions for Passover wines.

The four cups of wine served at Pesach gives each guest the opportunity to expand their wine horizons. The significant increases in quality kosher wine producers around the globe and their willingness to try different varietals have enhanced the choices available for this year’s sedarim. This improvement is most readily apparent in Israel, which has been the recent recipient of some very favorable wine press. But it can also be seen in the kosher wines from locations as diverse as California, Spain, Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand.

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