Sweet Sip: Keswick Vineyards Late Harvest Norton 2005

Hello Friends,

Have a sweet-tooth? If the answer is yes, then no doubt this one is for you. What we have here is a dessert wine produced by Keswick Vineyards that is made from 100% Norton grapes. I personally have had some pretty good local Norton offerings of late, and for the most they are usually off-dry to desirably dry. However, this is the first Norton dessert wine I have come across here in the Commonwealth. If you are a fan of this native grape variety you may want to get this sweet selection on your Thanksgiving table for an after dinner sipper – just a thought.

Let’s talk a little about these sweet droplets of concentrated juice for a second. Dessert wines usually come packaged in tall and slender, attractive half bottles (375 ML). These wines are perfect after dinner sippers on their own, or can be paired with a number of decadent desserts. You can also enjoy a bottle just because … just because you like sweet wines. Either way, the end result is a sweet, yet preferably balanced dessert wine with delectable nectars.

Keswick Vineyards Late Harvest Norton 2005

Typically, dessert wines are produced in one of four basic ways {ice wines, late-harvest, noble rot and fortified}. This particular wine is as the label suggests, late-harvest. Late-harvest dessert wines are wines produced from grapes left hanging on the vine toward the end of the harvest for maximum ripeness. Thus, where grapes for our more dry and off-dry wines are picked for balance, late-harvest grapes are left on the vine and picked for their brix measurement, also known as sugar levels. High sugar levels are desirable here. This translates into wines that are capable of reaching higher alcohol levels, higher sugar levels or even both. For that reason, these wines can vary in body and richness, and can be light in color to a beautiful deep golden color. In our case, with this late-harvest Norton, we have a garnet colored wine that is high in residual sugars and low in alcohol. Let’s talk about what’s in the glass, shall we?

Review: The Keswick Vineyards Late Harvest Norton 2005 is a very sweet dessert wine that displays a clear garnet color with a light orange tinge. The wine clocks in at 10% alcohol by volume, and has a real cork enclosure. On the nose are inviting notes of dark cherry, plum, spice, vanilla, and hints of Norton’s signature grapey aroma, which is more desirable, or better yet tolerable, in a dessert wine than a dry red table wine. The aromas follow through to a medium, flavorful palate, with a deliciously sweet splash of fruit up front, but falling off. Nevertheless, the wine has great expression and is definitely lip smacking. This wine was aged in neutral French oak barrels for 14 months and at 20% residual sugar is more suitable for serving as an after dinner wine with or without a complementing dessert. As you can see, I chose to have a few Godiva milk chocolate pearls with mines - Yummy! Price: $32

Producer: Keswick Vineyards - 1575 Keswick Winery Drive, Keswick, VA 22947

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