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To Bob: Here's the real scoop on late-harvest riesling


     A note to “Bob,” who called me on Linda Gassenheimer’s WLRN show Food News & Views last Thursday: You asked me about some good late-harvest Riesling dessert wines, and I gave you bad advice. Sorry.

     Here are some good producers who make late-harvest Riesling: Hogue, Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Dolce, Erath, Grgich Hills, J. Lohr, Navarro. They cost $9 to $25 a bottle.

     Late harvest dessert wines are made of grapes – Riesling, sauvignon blanc, Semillon, gewürztraminer-- that are left on the vine until very late in the fall, well past the usual picking time of September or so. They get riper, and they shrivel, concentrating their sugars and acids. Sometimes they’re attacked by botrytis – the “noble rot” – that pricks tiny holes in the skins, concentrating them even further.

     The result: sweet wines with honeyed viscosity and the flavors of ultra-ripe peaches, nectarines and/or apricots. They’re great with dessert, especially fruit tarts made of apples, pears, apricots, plums. I like to have them not with dessert, but as dessert.

     So if you know a guy named Bob, call him and let him know.


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