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Sep 1, 2013 12:15 PM

Sweet stuff

My better half does not care for port but enjoys the sweet stuff, so I have been gifting my half my collection, and replacing them with 375ml bottles of other dessert wines. My recent favs have been a Robert Mondavi Moscato D'Oro, a Chateau Roumieu-Lacoste 2010 Sauternes, and Dr Loosen 2009 Riesling Eiswein. That last was in a tiny 187 ml bottle but so tasty. A strong acidity seems to be the common element in these wines.

What are your favorite non port dessert wines?

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  1. found something at bev mo the other day that was interesting - an old vine zinfandel. it was like reduced wine! really unusual but i decided i liked it! in fact, i can't tell you much more about it because we drank it all... it was with the dessert wines at bev mo.

    what about quady essensia? orange blossoms and wine...

    2 Replies
    1. re: rmarisco

      ok i found the bottle from bev mo! its a 2010 vintage late harvest zinfandel from crooked path in paso robles.

      It was different - really enjoyed it just for that!

      1. re: rmarisco

        well-made late harvest zins are really great treats. Nice rec!

      2. Barsac. Snap it up in good vintage.

        3 Replies
          1. re: budnball

            Yep, but it gets pricier over time. For the every now and then treat a bottle of Barsac with some pears and the triple creme of your choice is truly memorable.

            1. re: budnball

              Sauternes and Barsac (which is but one commune *within* Sauternes -- the others are Fargues, Bommes, Preignac, and Sauternes itself) can be pricey, but you said that Chateau Roumieu-Lacoste 2010 Sauternes was a recent favorite . . .

          2. They produce all kinds of vin doux down naturel here. I still haven't learned the difference between them all.

            But I'm rather partial to the Maury wines produced by Mas Amiel. There are smaller producers in Maury who often make even better wines, but Mas Amiel is a excellent operation that does export.

            75% Grenache noir and therefore somewhat similar to port.

            1 Reply
            1. re: collioure

              Add in Dr Parce Banyuls and Maison Bressy Rasteau Rancio for a few more vin doux naturals

            2. Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese Rieslings from multiple producers in both Germany and Austria. Alois Kracher also makes Chardonnay blends at these sweetness levels that are worth searching out.

              Clos Lapeyre's Le Vent Balagùer and Dagueneau's Les Jardins de Babylone are two great Jurançon moelleux,

              I get the odd bottle of Barsac because a friend's cousin owns one of the properties.

              Locally, Tantalus Riesling ice wine.

              3 Replies
              1. re: wattacetti

                Seconding the Krachers and the Dagueneau Jardins de Babylone.

                Also I'll add in the Klein Constantia Vin De Constance- one of the only things worth drinking from South Africa *stirs pot*

                1. re: plaidbowtie

                  Fully agree with Vin de Constance; a very refined sticky which unfortunately is getting hammered for stock by 50 Shades.

                2. re: wattacetti

                  Those are some pricey Jurançcons!

                  I much prefer these wines to Sauternes with foie gras. So I open one bottle of moelleux every December, but I wouldn't sip these beauties with anything else.

                  (I am about to start ordering direct, primarily secs, probably from Cauhapé.)

                3. Let's start with Muscat. Robert Mondavi's Moscato d'Oro, the last time I looked, was made from Moscato di Canelli -- the Italian name for Muscat blanc à petits blanc, generally considered the finest of the myriad of grapes in the Muscat family.

                  From the Rhône, Muscat Beaumes de Venise is produced from *the* Muscat grape (that is, Muscat blanc à petits grains). Although the original "formula" called for 20-25 percent Muscat noir à petits grains, few use the Muscat noir version today. If you can find it, try the Muscat BdV from Domaine des Bernardins -- my favorite example from the appellation. It is closest, IMHO, to the original. You can learn more here:

                  Other examples, and easier to find, are Domaine de Durban -- -- and the ones made by M. Chapoutier or Paul Jaboulet Aîné. These, however, are all (or almost all) Muscat blanc.

                  Over in the Roussillon, a number of fine Muscats are made, though many rely more on the Muscat of Alexandria grape than on Muscat blanc, though both are used. (Muscat of Alexandria is responsible for Sutter Home's version of Muscat.) Muscat de Rivsaltes -- -- is a vin doux naturel. Look for Château de Nouvelles, Château de Jau, Mas Amiel, and Chapoutier.

                  Quady Essencia is produced from Orange Muscat and has been around for years -- it's the finest example of Orange Muscat I know . . .

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: zin1953

                    Domaine de Durban is Beaumes de Venise. It develops nicely with some bottle age.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      >>> Domaine de Durban is Beaumes de Venise. <<<

                      Isn't that what I said?

                      1. re: zin1953

                        "These, however, are all (or almost all) Muscat blanc" sounds like you're drawing a distinction between the wines in that paragraph and Dom. des Bernardins. Since 1957, only Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains is permitted in Beaumes de Venise. The noir mutation is considered the same variety.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Robert -- though as a former magazine editor and writer, I though my meaning clear, let's ignore the rules of grammar and editing, and focus solely on this issue of grapes.

                          Grapes varieties mutate all the time. Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc are mutations, yet separate and identifiable by individual names. So, too, the whole Pinot Noir/"Gamay Beaujolais" thing in California. On the other hand, some mutations of Gewürztraminer have pigment in the skins, while others do not; some are distinctively Muscat-like in aromatics, while others variations are considerably more spicy. These, however, are *not* worthy of individual varietal names.

                          From -- "Depuis 1943, seuls ont droit à l’appellation contrôlée «Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise», les vins provenant du cépage « Muscat à petits grains » blancs et noirs, récoltés sur un territoire délimité des communes de Beaumes-de-Venise et d’Aubignan."

                          -- translation: Since 1943, only entitled to the controlled appellation "Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise" wine from the grape "Muscat à petits grains" white and black, harvested from a defined territory of the municipalities of Beaumes-de-Venise and Aubignan.

                          From the Vins du Rhône website (English version) -- -- "Beaumes-de-Venise muscats are golden in colour, with a nose of flowers and tropical fruits, and have a long finish. Made from assemblies of muscat à petits grains blanc and noir, and their colour can vary from amber to rosé, and even purple."

                          From the Domaine de Bernardins website -- -- "AOC Muscat de Beaumes de Venise: . . . Variety: Muscat à petits grains, white and black."

                          From Wines of the Rhône, by John Livingstone-Learmonth and Melvyn C.H. Master, © 1978, page 79: "True to form, though, the Muscat at Beaumes has two sub-varieties -- the grain blanc and the grain noir. The grain noir is the more prolific producer, but by itself is considered to make a wine a little too dark in colour. One of the joys of a good Muscat de Beaumes is its appealing golden hue, and to achieve this the vignerons rely on a combination of grain blanc and grain noir."

                          And finally, from Wine Grapes, by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and José Vouillamoz, © 2012, page 685: "Sweet fortified wines in a similar style are made in many southern French appellations in Roussillon (Muscat de Rivesaltes) and in the Languedoc and southern Rhône (Muscats of [sic] Beaumes-de-Venise, Frontignan, Lunel, Mireval and Saint-Jean-de-Minervois). Most must be made EXCLUSIVELY (emphasis added) from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, although Beaumes-de-Venise may also include the red mutation Muscat à Petits Grains Rouges."

                          Note: Muscat à Petits Grains Rouges is also known as Muscat Noir à Petits Grains.

                          Mutation? Yes. Worthy of its own name and identity? Yes.