Much attention is paid to identifying the perfect wine pairing for a specific dinner offering. How about discovering which ideal Dessert Wine to enjoy with after-dinner bites or to be sipped by a warming fire on cool autumn or winter evenings?
In Napa Valley, where the annual harvest has begun, the weather is showing signs of cooling, mornings are crisper, and the area’s foliage is starting to change. The warmth and comfort of delicious, handcrafted dessert wines are a perfect accompaniment for quiet conversation or just solitary reflection.
What’s Unique About Dessert Wines?
Dessert wines comprise a broad category of wines intended for consumption at the end or after a dinner meal. This general category of wines tends to be sweeter in flavor, typically with higher alcohol content. This group is made up of several wine types, including:
- Sweet red wines
- Fortified wines
- Sparkling wines
While these may accompany desserts, sweets, or a cheese plate, many dessert wines are perfect for sipping alone.
Handwritten’s Featured Dessert Wines
‘Colheita’ 10-Year Tawny
Handwritten Wines’ ‘Colheita’ 10-Year Tawny pays homage to centuries of Portugal’s rich tradition of producing fortified wines, using 100% Napa Valley Cabernet, which was strengthened with grape spirits and then aged in barrel for ten years. The resulting natural grape sugars, perfectly balanced with toasted cocoa, coffee, and caramel notes, meld beautifully into the dark, nutty, and wonderfully complex elixir we have today.
Late Harvest Chardonnay
A Napa Valley interpretation of Bordeaux’s Botrytis wines — wherein a “raisining”- effect causes grapes to produce intensely concentrated sweet wines. In this instance, Handwritten’s Late Harvest Chardonnay is a veritable ‘nectar of the gods,’ worthy of pairing with the most indulgent of cheeses or drizzled over vanilla bean ice cream or pineapple upside-down cake. Sourced from Truchard Vineyards in Carneros, this luxurious, golden wine bursts with ripe citrus, white peach, and pear, complemented by lively acidity.
How are Dessert Wines Made?
Unique harvest and handcrafted wine techniques give dessert wines their characteristic sweetness:
- 1. Late harvest: Grapes harvested later are riper and sweeter. Grapes can even be left to wither on the vine for more concentrated sweetness.
- 2. Fortification: Fortified wines are made by adding another spirit, such as brandy, to the wine. This both increases the alcohol content and halts fermentation. (Dry wines, in contrast, are fermented until most of the sugar has converted to alcohol.)
- 3. Noble rot: When Botrytis cinerea fungus attacks ripe grapes, the grapes become incredibly sweet and capable of producing highly ageable wines.
Enjoy Your After-Dinner Time with Handwritten Dessert Wines
Visit the Handwritten Wines’ online wine shop or make your reservations at their Yountville Tasting Room to sample some of their world-class handcrafted wines.