Pour Some Sugar On Me
I’m baaack! After altruistically giving up my blog spot to advertise all of our incredible post-Thanksgiving holiday specials- you know, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Taco Tuesday- I’m back at it with…another fabulous holiday special! Ok, ok, you get a little bit of my patented brand of
sophomoric streamlined wine info with it this time. And, if you’ve read the title, you get as a bonus, an ear worm for the day! (Don’t tell me you don’t have Def Leppard going through your head right now.) Yes, it isn’t some random title, though perhaps I should have titled it- Pour Some Sugar In My Wine Glass. That’s right, I’m talking dessert wines.
Naggiar Vineyards makes two dessert wines- a late-harvest Viognier and a late-harvest Syrah. So what is the difference between making these wines and regular wines? (Hint, the answer is in the name of the first one.) These so-called “sticky” wines are both true late-harvest wines in that they are picked much later in the season, at a higher brix but not quite to raisin. The sugar accumulates in the fruit as the vines start to dry out so that we pick around 32 brix for the Viognier and a whopping 36 brix for the Syrah. Of course being dried out and sugar-concentrated, the fruit yields little juice. For instance, a normal pressing would yield about 160 gallons per ton, whereas a late-harvest pressing would give you only 110 gallons per ton. And for those wondering if they are botrytisized wines, the answer is no-just regular late-harvest wines. For those wondering what the heck a botrytisized wine is, well, I think that could show up as a future blog topic. (But in the meantime, botrytis is a desirable fungus that is allowed to develop on the fruit when making a certain type of late-harvest dessert wine.)
This desiccation process (the drying out of the vines resulting in sugar accumulation) results in a huge change in the aromas, flavors, and acidity of the wine. Both wines have a very distinct dried fruit aspect to them, but each also have so much more in the way of aromas and character than just the obvious dried fruit. The Viognier has vanilla, sweet spice, dried mangoes, ripe pineapple and citrus zest flavors and aromas while the Syrah has concentrated quince, marmalade, guava, chocolate, clove, and molasses flavors. So, a dessert wine goes with…dessert, right? Well, just like any food/wine pairing, there are a couple of “rules” to enhance the experience. For dessert wines, first, try to match the food with the exhibited fruit profile of the wine and second, make sure the wine is NOT sweeter than the dessert- we want the wine to compliment the dessert not overwhelm it. That would be a travesty, because when it comes to wine and dessert, well, I love me some dessert. For the best of both worlds, pair the LH Viognier with a dessert such as creme brûlée (one of my fave’s) and the LH Syrah with pecan or mincemeat pie.
Drumroll please……..here is the sweet special- 4 bottles of dessert wine- 2 late-harvest Viognier and 2 late-harvest Syrah for $70. Yes, they are in slightly smaller bottles than the usual 750 ml, but these wines are made to be poured short and sipped- a little goes a long way. Because the higher sugar and alcohol makes for a hostile environment for those naughty little buggies that spoil opened wine, it’s ok to keep that bottle around after it’s been opened to enjoy over the weeks. Make sure you’ve got a cork in it and you can have many weeks to try out that wine with different desserts- it takes a lot of trial and error to find just the right dessert to pair with it. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it- oh, alright, twist my arm.
Here’s the link if you want to get some of that sweet “sticky” wine: http://shop.naggiarvineyards.com/sweetspecial2014
Hmh, hmh, sticky sweet, from my head, head….head- yeah, I’m still singing it.