Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Waterstone Winery 2002 Late Harvest Semillon  (Napa Valley)

Waterstone Winery

2002 Late Harvest Semillon
(Napa Valley)

I, as with many of my wine-critic colleagues, am simply a fool for dessert wine. At wine judgings, it’s inevitable that a late-harvest wine – especially one that has botrytis – will be rated among the best wines of the tasting. So sexy and so alluring are these wines that have been infected by the noble rot – the fungus that affects grapes, turns them gray as dirt, and makes the juice that remains, as sweet and intense as all get-out.

The Waterstone late harvest Semillon from the negociant’s undisclosed source in the Coombsville area in the eastern foothills above the city of Napa is no different. In the case of this wine, only a portion – 20-25 percent – of the grapes were subjected to botrytis.

It’s a beauty. With butterscotch aromas – due in no small measure to aging for 26 months in new French oak – the wine is simply lovely. But make no mistake: this is no cloyingly unctuous elixir. No, it has wonderful acidity, but is more reminiscent of a four puttonyos Hungarian Tokaji than a Bordeaux Sauternes.

The fact that the grape bunches were hand-selected (at 35 degrees Brix, and that the wine was kept in new wood for as long as it was, accounts for the high price. Also, there were only 136 half-bottle cases produced. The listed alcohol is 14.1 percent.

Reviewed November 1, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.

Other reviewed wines from Waterstone Winery


The Wine

Winery: Waterstone Winery
Vintage: 2002
Wine: Late Harvest Semillon
Appellation: Napa Valley
Grape: Semillon
Price: 375ml $35.00

Review Date: 11/1/2006

The Reviewer

Alan Goldfarb

Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.