Tag Archives: late harvest wine

How About a Glass of Late-Harvest Wine?

Well – I’m a little late getting this out, but surely you have some left-over pumpkin or apple pie to go with a delicious late-harvest wine!

Here’s what it’s all about:

Far Niente’s Dolce is one of my very favorite examples. They call it “liquid gold”, and with good reason! What are some of your favorites?

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Brioche Bread Pudding Paired with Dolce Wine

I had the pleasure of interviewing the Executive Chef and the Winemaker for Dolce a few weeks ago ((Dolce is part of the Far Niente group here in Napa Valley). They put together a delicious pairing: Brioche Bread Pudding with the Dolce. YUM!

Dolce is a late-harvest, botrytized sweet wine that’s made from Sémillon blended with a bit of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s exquisite! A glass of Dolce does very well in place of dessert or served with a nice piece of blue cheese or, of course, with this recipe. Don’t worry – the recipe isn’t hard to do. See it here

Anyway, the Winemaker explains how the wine is made and he and the chef talk about pairing the Dolce. Enjoy! 

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What is Late-Harvest Wine?

Question from Renee: Hi! I was at a friend’s house for dinner the other day and she served a really sweet wine from a small bottle called Dolce. I don’t usually like sweet wine, but this was delicious! She said it’s a late-harvest wine and I didn’t want to look like an idiot so I didn’t ask what that means. What is it? 

Reply: Hi, Renee. Thanks for writing! You have a very generous friend. That’s an expensive bottle of wine – I love it, too – I think of it as liquid gold…

Your friend was right – Dolce is in a category of wines referred to as late-harvest or botrytized wine. If you’ve ever heard of Sauternes, that was the model. This category also includes late-harvest, sweet German wines such as Beerenauslese (BA) and Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA). From Hungary, there’s the famous Tokaj. Ice wine (eiswein) isn’t usually botrytized, but it certainly qualifies as late harvest since the grapes are picked and pressed in a frozen state. 

The term is quite literal. The grapes are harvested much later than normal – so late that they’ve begun to dehydrate and, in fact, begun to rot. Botrytis cinerea is famous in the wine world (the French call it the “noble rot”) for compounding the dehydration which concentrates the sugar, acid and flavors. This is because the rot perforates the grape skins and the watery juice seeps out. Botrytized wines have an unforgettable honeyed character, which I’m sure you noticed in the Dolce.    Continue reading

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