Produced each and every vintage since 1989, this botrytized nectar is America’s gold standard in the dessert wine category. Originally conceived as a wine for the personal enjoyment of parent company Far Niente’s owners, it has taken on a life of its own, and is found quite commonly in high-end retail and fine dining restaurant selections. The fruit source is a 20-acre vineyard in Coombsville, east of Napa. Plans are underway to expand the winery and vineyard.
Brilliant golden yellow with amber highlights and very viscous, this sweet wine immediately captures the attention with intoxicating aromas of honey, lanolin, lemon drop, peach nectar, orange marmalade, and candied violets. The palate is as come-hither as the nose, with banana, peach, apricot, mango, honey, and riotous floral notes all fighting for attention as if in a competition for the same suitor. At 14% alcohol and 12.4 residual sugar, the wine is refreshingly balanced, not cloying, and has a sweet, banana-toffee infused finish. How pleasant to find that, after all this time as the benchmark American dessert wine, it still exceeds expectations.
Reviewed July 24, 2007 by Catherine Fallis.
Founder and President of Planet Grape LLC, a company committed to bringing the joy of wine, food, and good living into the lives of everyday people, Catherine is creator of the “grape goddess guides to good living,” a series of books, television presentations, seminars, and e-learning programs. The fifth woman in the world to become a Master Sommelier, grape goddess Catherine Fallis is still very much down-to-earth.