Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2007 Nils late harvest sauvignon blanc

Late harvest rieslings and riesling eisweins can be divine little desserts in a glass: the lemon cake-and-clove tastes of the riesling grape translate well into, let us be blunt, a glass of syrup. Late harvest wines like Nils, below, made from other grapes ["late harvest" means the grapes have been plucked late in the fall, after they have hung long enough on the vine to lose some water content naturally, and to concentrate the juices inside] -- other late harvest wines, I say, strike me as a bit odd in comparison. They are interesting and good, but can also remind one strangely of things that don't entirely go together, re dessert. Maybe mustard and caramel, for example, or olive brine and maple syrup.  

 

But it is also possible to fail to do them justice, especially if one is in a hurry one night, or does not chill them enough one lazy winter afternoon. Luckily the sugars naturally present in late harvest wines help preserve them even after opening, so that one may try again to sort out the mustard and caramel a few weeks later, and no harm done.

Our Nils, you must know, comes from Napa Valley's Saddleback Cellars, is named for its winemaker Nils Venge (famed among other things for making the 1985 Groth cabernet sauvignon reserve which was the first California wine awarded 100 points by Robert Parker), and sells for $45 per 500 ml bottle from the winery website. These are all reasons enough to want to do it justice, and to be glad about the preserving qualities of sugar.   

Tiny hint to those of us anticipating a quite middle-aged birthday. A dollop of something like Nils is just the treat to round off the evenings if you have noticed, in these latter days, that perhaps your waistline can no longer cope with the gargantuan midnight snacks of yesteryear. A careful pour in a champagne flute will do very well. Then off to bed with you, and listen to WFMT's opera broadcast (tonight it's Ernani), or dip into wonderful E.F. Benson's Secret Lives (first published, 1932).  


  

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