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Oregon Sweet Wines

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Sweet wine from Oregon ranges from Willamette Valley Vineyards Edelweiss to sweet ice wines from Andrew Rich. His Les Vigneaux Gewurztraminer sweet wine has to be at the top of my list of dessert wine favorites. This little bottle packs a wallop of flavor! For one thing, Andrew has brought out the natural spiciness of the Gewurztraminer grape in a wonderfully balanced wine that, though sweet, is so much more than just sweet. Far too many late harvest-style wines seem to offer intense sweetness as the measure of quality, when in fact it is varietal flavor that is the hallmark of greatness in late harvest wines.

Andrew's wine serves up a wonderful example of Gewurztraminer's sweet apricot and nectarine fruitiness, along with hints of tart orange and a tangy allspice and clove-infused honey character that is simply delicious. Thankfully, the sweetness in this wine is balanced by an acidity that keeps it from becoming heavy and overbearing-like so many sweet wines that are simply, well . . . sweet. In fact, the sweetness in this wine acts not as a bludgeon of sugar, but rather as a soft backdrop upon which the flavors of the grape can be painted. If there is an Oregon wine that signifies Christmas to me, it is this one!


Sineann's Sweet CJ Port

A wonderful sweet wine of a different kind is the lightly sweet Silvan Ridge Semi-Sparkling Muscat. This delightful wine offers a very light-bodied (around 6.5% alcohol) and lightly sweet style that makes it great for serving at holiday parties regardless of the time of day. The semi-sparkling Muscat style was originated by Oregon winemaker Joe Dobbes, some years ago.

The softly sparkling style is great for bringing out the earthy-sweet character of the Muscat grape, while still offering a certain verve through the soft, barely detectable fizz. Personally, I think it is a wonderful way to get through all the fruitcake offerings of the season; just sip the semi-sparkling Muscat and then quickly down the fruitcake. If you do it right, you'll enjoy the wine and won't even taste the fruitcake!


Delicious Van Duzer Port- highly Recommended

Contrary to popular belief, not all late harvest wines are intensely sweet. An excellent example of this phenomenon is the Amity Vineyards late harvest Oregon Riesling. Fairly bursting with apple and peach flavors, this wine delivers a wonderful uplifting fruitiness whose sweetness acts as a resonant tune to the fruit, rather than a singular note of its own. Though residual sugar is above 9%, this is not a wine that feels dramatically sweet. The balance is superb, making it an excellent choice of a variety of sipping situations, from aperitif to dessert-in-a-glass.

It is also true that not all Oregon sweet wines are of the traditional "late harvest" style. One of the most popular sweet wines of Oregon is made from raspberries, to which has been added neutral grape spirits. The "Raspberry Framboise Vin d' Ete" produced by Eola Hilla Wine Cellars is a perennial favorite. Made by crushing ripe raspberries, and then stopping fermentation by the addition of grape spirits, the result is an intensely concentrated, intensely raspberry, syrupy sweet wine. Pouring a glass of this is like pouring pure raspberry puree!

While this wine is more like a fruit liqueur than a wine, it has an undeniably appealing, in-your-face raspberry concentration and an incredibly lingering finish as the essence of the fruit stays in your mouth seemingly forever. This is great stuff for pouring over ice cream, adding to tonic when the hearthside gets too warm, or simply enjoying by itself.

This is certainly a wine for sipping, with a warming character that lulls you into contemplation or romance, depending on your inclination!

Oregon's sweet wines have become popular across the country over the last few years. There are many more wines showing complexity and balance, and fewer showing simple sweetness. There are also more winemakers trying different styles, giving us consumers a wider variety of sweetness to choose from. This is a wonderful trend that I hope will continue! In any event, I think you'll be happy with any of the wines reviewed here-they are great to give or get this holiday season!

 

About Muscat
by Jim LaMar

Of the four principal varieties of the muscat grape, including Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Blanc, Muscat Hamburg, and Muscat Ottonel, the most widely propagated and also most representative of the family character is Muscat Blanc, known as Muscat Frontignan in France and Moscato di Canelli in Italy.

Each muscat produces, with subtle variation, wines with the distinct, intense, aromatic, sweet, and easily-recognized scent of muscat and, unusual for most wine varieties, that actually taste like grapes. Muscat of Alexandria and Muscat Hamburg are, in fact, cultivated as table grapes, as well as for making wine.

Muscat is a very ancient variety and, with its strong and distinctive perfume, was probably one of the first to be identified and cultivated. Nearly every Mediterranean country has a famous wine based on muscat and varying from light and bone dry, to low-alcohol sparkling versions, to very sweet and alcoholic potions.

The muscat vine is not very vigorous in most soil types, especially sandy mixtures, and seems to prefer damp, deep soils. It also falls victim quite easily to any of several vine diseases. Normally early in budding, muscat may also suffer from Spring frosts. All things considered, muscat would not seem to be a grape that would be cultivated so widely as it is.

The full name is Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and the berries are quite small and round, but not always white. The spectrum includes pale green, pale yellow, golden, pink, red, brown, and black berries. Some vines produce fruit that can be different colored each vintage.

Oregon Sweet Wines

Seven of Hearts Pinot noir Coupe's Cuvee Dessert Wine 2011 375ml

Now in the fourth vintage of this unique port-style Pinot noir, this version of Coupe's Cuvée is the deepest and richest ...


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$18.86

$20.95 Regular

Abacela Port 2012 375 ml

Our dessert style wine was crafted from five of the traditional Douro wine grapes. This opaque wine has aromas of raspber...


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$23.36

$25.95 Regular

Andrew Rich Gewurztraminer Dessert Wine 08 375ml

Andrew says: "Seduction in a bottle. Give in. You know you want to. Just give in."

"I hadn't tasted this wi...


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$23.08

$25.65 Regular

Capitello Wines Dolcino Dessert Wine 2010 375ml

This 100% Gewurztraminer by Ray Walsh at Capitello has been a favorite of Avalon's for several vintages running. It offer...


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$17.95

$19.95 Regular

Francis Tannahill "Passito" 08 375 ml

The Passito is a Rousanne/Marsanne/Viognier Dessert Wine.

Beautiful amber color. Aromas of apricots, white raisins, a...


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$23.36

$25.95 Regular

Elk Cove Ultima 2010 375 ml

Half Bottle Size

This white blend is something quite special.

2008 Vintage Tasting Not...


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$29.21

$32.45 Regular

Kiona Ice Wine 2010 375 ml

Highly recommended - one of the highest rated Washington ice wines and a great price.

2008 Vintage Tasting Not...


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$24.25

$26.95 Regular

Inniskillin Ice Wine Cabernet Franc 07 375 ml

Rare red wine ice wine - recommended

"A rare red wine ice, both intensely aromatic and flavorful. ...


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$80.95

$89.95 Regular

Adelsheim Deglace 2011 375 ml

Adelsheim Deglace is made from frozen Pinot noir grapes. This dessert wine has elegant strawberry, nectarine, and orange b...


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$30.56

$33.95 Regular

Capitello Wines Brut Willamette Valley

Ray made a few cases of sparkling wine for the holidays- mostly for family and friends. It's strictly handcrafted - lovin...


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$25.65

$28.50 Regular

Abacela Port 09

This vintage ruby style dessert wine was crafted from five traditional Douro wine grapes grown on our estate. This opaque ...


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$46.66

$51.85 Regular

Saint Chapelle Sauvignon Blanc Ice Wine 375 ml

From the winery: "Our Ice Wine is made by hand picking Sauvignon Blanc grapes from our Winery Hill Vineyard and pressing t...


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$18.86

$20.95 Regular

Brooks Winery Tethys Late Harvest Riesling Dessert Wine 2011 375 ml

Excellent value for a sweet wine with lots of fresh fruit and delicate floral notes adding to the just-sweet-enough flavo...


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$18.86

$20.95 Regular

Sineann Sweet Sydney 2011 375 ml

Sweet Sydney is a Zinfandel Ice Wine named for the winemaker's beautiful and, well, sweet daughter, Sydney. Freezing Zinf...


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$21.55

$23.95 Regular

Owen Roe Late Harvest Semillon "The Parting Glass" 09 375ml

For only the third time, David O'Reilly made this special wine, a tribute to his father. It is a Semillon dessert wine, s...


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$21.55

$23.95 Regular

Cana's Feast Chinato D'Erbetti Aperitif

Cana's Feast Cana's Feast Chinato D'Erbetti Aperitif might just be the most fascinating wine made in Oregon.

The Ch...


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$41.36

$45.95 Regular

Ponzi Vino Gelato Dessert Wine 08 375 ml

A delightful ice wine with flavors of ripe peach and a bright, honeyed finish....


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$38.66

$42.95 Regular

Sineann Pinot Noir Ice Dance 2011 375 ml

This is the first vintage of the Pinot Noir Ice Dance. It has flavors and aromatics of watermelon and strawberries. The sw...


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$21.55

$23.95 Regular

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