That's right ladies and gentlemen, Wine Blogging Wednesday is here again. This month's ice wine-themed edition is hosted by the Kitchen Chick and it should come as no big surprise that I've chosen a local wine for the event.
There are several local ice-style wines (I say ice-style because most -- if not all -- are made by freezing the grapes commercially) that I enjoy, so it was hard to pick which one to go with for WBW.
But, in the end, I settled on Wolffer Estate's 2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay ($37). If the name sounds familiar, I've written about Wolffer plenty of times before. In fact, I reviewed the 2003 vintage of this wine for a previous WBW.
Last summer, this wine was named the "Best Dessert Wine" at the 2006 New York Wine and Food Classic and after tasting it, it's hard to argue much.
A blend of 79% Chardonnay, 13% Vignoles, 4% Gewürztraminer and 4% Trebbiano, the grapes were hand picked in early October and moved to a commercial freezer, where they were stored at 15° Fahrenheit until November 29. The frozen grapes where pressed, yielding a concentrated nectar at 38 Brix, 9.0% Total Acidity and a low pH of 3.2. Fermentation was done in stainless steel to preserve the bright fruit flavors and lasted over a month – with residual sugar of 19.5%. 273 cases of 375ml bottles and 20 magnums were bottled.
Intense aromas of apricots, kiwis, limes, tropical fruits and honey jump out of the glass on a terrific nose. Ripe, rich fruit – apricot, peach, tropical and citrus – greets your taste buds along with plenty of sweetness balanced by frisky acidity. The great thing about this bottling is a minerally lime note – think fresh lime margarita with salt – towards the end of a long finish.
Clearly this is a wine I enjoyed and will enjoy for some time. Roman Roth, Wolffer's winemaker, tells me it will last 100 years. That might be a bit much, but I think it will improve and evolve for decades.