Wine Recommendation
  Sign In
Subscribe to our newsletter
Bookmark and Share  
print this review     

Wine Recommendation

Wolffer Estate 2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay  (Long Island)

Wolffer Estate Vineyard

2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay
(Long Island)

Long Island is known mostly for Merlot – and with good reason. Year in and year out, it's the wine that ripens best and makes many of the regions best wines. There is also good Cabernet Franc and, in warm years, Cabernet Sauvignon. But, the wines you don't hear about nearly enough are the dessert wines.

Wolffer Estate's 2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay ($37) has just won "Best Dessert Wine" at the 2006 New York Wine and Food Classic and it's easy to see why.

A blend of 79% Chardonnay, 13% Vignoles, 4% Gewürztraminer and 4% Trebbiano, the grapes were hand picked in early October and moved to a commercial freezer, where they were stored at 15° Fahrenheit until November 29. The frozen grapes where pressed, yielding a concentrated nectar at 38 Brix, 9.0% Total Acidity and a low pH of 3.2. Fermentation was done in stainless steel to preserve the bright fruit flavors and lasted over a month – with residual sugar of 19.5%. 273 cases of 375ml bottles and 20 magnums were bottled.

Every year, this is one of my favorite dessert wines, always offering intense fruit flavors and plenty of balancing acidity – and this vintages is no different. Intense aromas of apricots, kiwis, limes, tropical fruits and honey jump out of the glass on a terrific nose. Ripe, rich fruit – apricot, peach, tropical and citrus – greets your taste buds along with plenty of sweetness balanced by frisky acidity. The great thing about this bottling is a minerally lime note – think fresh lime margarita with salt – towards the end of a long finish.

Winemaker Roman Roth claims that this wine will age 100 years. That might be an exaggeration, but 20-30 seems entirely possible...if you can wait that long.

Reviewed October 11, 2006 by Lenn Thompson.

The Wine

Winery: Wolffer Estate Vineyard
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Late Harvest Chardonnay
Appellation: Long Island
Grapes: Chardonnay (79%), Vignoles / Ravat (13%), Gewurztraminer (4%), Trebbiano (4%)
Price: 375ml $37.00

Review Date: 10/11/2006

The Reviewer

Lenn Thompson

Lenn Thompson writes about New York wines for Dan's Papers,
Long Island Press, Long Island Wine Gazette, Edible East End
and Two words describe his taste in wine — balance and nuance. Lenn prefers food-friendly, elegant wines to jammy, over-extracted fruit bombs and heavy-handed oak. When reviewing, Lenn tastes each wine three times — alone right after opening, with food, and again the next day — believing that 90-second reviews are unrealistic and not how the average person enjoys wine.