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What's your favorite affordable, California-produced dessert wine?

v
vulber Aug 27, 2009 03:16 PM

Interpret as you wish.

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  1. Robert Lauriston Aug 27, 2009 03:30 PM

    My favorites tend to be available only at the wineries and often sell out within a month or two of release.

    Navarro still has some 2006 Cluster Select Late Harvest Gewürztraminer.

    http://www.navarrowine.com/shop/produ...

    13 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      v
      vulber Aug 27, 2009 03:55 PM

      I realize I was (intentionally) vague when I said "affordable", but I was kinda hoping for something a little cheaper than $40 for375mL.

      And while we're at it, maybe add to the original post, discuss both winery-only ones, as well as ones available in retail stores.

      1. re: vulber
        wolfe Aug 27, 2009 04:18 PM

        How about Quady Essencia available at Bevmo, about $16/750ml.

        1. re: wolfe
          b
          BigWoodenSpoon Aug 27, 2009 04:24 PM

          Yeah, I LOVE Navarro, but Quady makes some great wines as well.
          Both the Elysium (Black Muscat) and the Essensia (Orange Muscat) are delicious and affordable. At the Alameda Meals on Wheels event, the Elysium was gone way before the Essensia which they were serving ice cold. Very refreshing!

          1. re: BigWoodenSpoon
            wolfe Aug 27, 2009 04:27 PM

            Same price $16, $12 for the split.

            1. re: BigWoodenSpoon
              Ruth Lafler Aug 27, 2009 04:41 PM

              Quady also makes low alcohol versions (different fermentation process) of the black and orange muscat, called Electra and Red Electra. They're delicious and not as heavy.

              1. re: BigWoodenSpoon
                cookie monster Aug 27, 2009 04:48 PM

                Third the Essensia.

                1. re: cookie monster
                  PolarBear Aug 27, 2009 05:09 PM

                  +4 and +5, as stated, serve well chilled

                  1. re: PolarBear
                    Ruth Lafler Aug 27, 2009 06:05 PM

                    Quady is also a nice place to taste -- if you get tired of the overly-touristy wineries of the more famous wine regions of California, you might want to check out the Madera Country Wine Trail. A lot of the producers in that area do dessert wines (because of the climate and the varieties they grow there), the tasting rooms are not crowded, and the prices are much lower.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      PolarBear Aug 28, 2009 09:26 AM

                      Madera Wine Trail
                      http://www.maderawinetrail.com/

          2. re: Robert Lauriston
            Delucacheesemonger Aug 29, 2009 12:12 PM

            Drank a '85 Riesling CSLH Riesling last week, Oh My. Still feel Navarro is the king of the hill out there.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger
              Robert Lauriston Aug 29, 2009 07:28 PM

              Chateau St. Jean also made some great age-worthy late harvests in those days. I think they discontinued them some years ago.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                Delucacheesemonger Aug 30, 2009 08:36 AM

                Still have a half case of the '82's and yes they are very worthy as well.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  b
                  bogie Sep 3, 2009 06:33 AM

                  Those were gorgeous little wines! Back when K-J was a nice little winery located in Lake County, they made a Sauternes-like number called Grand Finale (as well as some superb single vineyard Zins).

            2. w
              whiner Aug 27, 2009 11:58 PM

              Navarro Cluster Select Gewurz (and the Cluster Select Riesling is pretty cool, too)

              1. c
                cstr Aug 29, 2009 09:33 AM

                A Muscat Cannelli from Orfila in So. CA plays excellent with desserts and cheeses. Nice hints of peach, apricot and not too sweet. Also, ice wines do well in the category.

                2 Replies
                1. re: wolfe
                  Robert Lauriston Aug 29, 2009 11:55 AM

                  Randall Grahm has been known to freeze his own, hence "Vin de Glaciere."

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    invinotheresverde Aug 29, 2009 02:33 PM

                    Speaking of, it's fairly respectable for about $17. There's fairly balanced acidity and nice peachy-honey notes.

                2. Ruth Lafler Aug 29, 2009 08:08 PM

                  On the affordable side, at the recommendation of someone on the SF board I picked up a bottle of Belo Muscat Gris, which according to the website is slightly fortified with muscat brandy. It has an almost sherry-like nuttiness combined with light orange and apricot from the muscat. I don't know what it sells for retail,. but at the under $5 Grocery Outlet price, I'm going to see if I can get some more. http://www.belowine.com/wines.html

                  1. wolfe Aug 30, 2009 03:29 AM

                    Here's a thread for more opinions.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/516908

                    1. SteveTimko Sep 1, 2009 12:37 PM

                      Just picked up a bottle of 2004 Unti grenache doux 500 ml for $20 that was pretty tasty at the winery.

                      1. Midlife Sep 2, 2009 10:33 AM

                        Zero retail distribution, but there's a small winery (in the Russian River area) called Harvest Moon, that makes really nice LH Zin and Gewurz 'ice-style' wine. Nice place to visit too.

                        http://harvestmoonwinery.com/store/ot...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Midlife
                          maria lorraine Sep 2, 2009 11:30 PM

                          That's the bite with California dessert wines -- zero (or near zero) distribution.

                        2. e
                          evernote Sep 4, 2009 06:49 PM

                          For very inexpensive, Rutherford Ranch Winery has a Muscat Canelli 375mL that runs $12 or so. I don't see it on the website so it must be sold at the winery only.

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