Not all sweet wines are created equally, and you would be surprised how many people I meet at tastings who say they don’t care for them at all. Of course, this contradicts the whole ‘Americans generally have sweet palates’ argument, but given the number of simple and sickly sweet wines on the market, it is not too surprising that some wine consumers have a common disregard for them. After all, some of these wines are nothing more than lackluster base wines, only made tolerable by the addition of sugar (and even flavor extracts) to fill holes and/or mask faults. Unfortunately, for the average consumer, this may be their first impression of the blanket expression we call, “dessert wine.” And you know the old adage about first impressions, right?
Höpler Pinot Noir 2009 Eiswein
And then there’s the wonderful world of rich and complex dessert wines that strike a harmonious balance in the mouth and leave a smile on your face. Common styles include late-harvest, botrytized (noble rot), fortified, straw, and the delicious wine I reviewed below – a traditional Eiswein (Ice Wine). True Eiswein is made by picking the berries late in the season (sometimes into the next year), while they’re shriveled and frozen on the vine and pressing them before they thaw. When pressed, the vintner only gets a droplet of concentrated juice per grape. So, when you combine the fact that only certain regions can produce Eiswein and the number of grapes that go into one bottle, then it’s easy to see why these wines demand the prices they do (and for half-bottles). I had an opportunity to review the Pinot Noir Eiswein from Höpler via @AustrianWineUSA during a recent #winechat event. This wine makes for an excellent addition to the dinner table and can very much be featured on its own as the dessert itself. For further information and where you can find this wine, check out my tasting note below.
Review: Höpler Pinot Noir 2009 Eiswein (SRP $69 / 375ml): In the glass, this wine exhibits a beautiful light-to-medium amber color [that speaks fullness] with aromas and flavors of dried apricot, fig, tangerine peel, candied brown sugar, and honeycomb. The palate is unctuously textured with good depth of fruit, flavor intensity, and length. Fine supporting acidity provides plenty of balance to the richness and lifts the finish. Save the cake or pie for another day – this delicious, mouth-filling sweet-treat is a dessert within and of itself. Region: Burgenland, Austria. (Other info: ABV 11.5%, vinified in stainless steel tanks, cork enclosure.) 92 Points. Click here to find this wine.
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