Great Wine: A Before & After Shot

In an earlier post today I was commenting on the 1994 vintage, a subject I came to after having opened a bottle of 1994 Chateau St. Jean "Belle Terre" Vineyard Late Harvest Riesling. I described the dark amber color, but it struck me that there may be a fair number of readers who have not encountered an older dessert wine such as this.

So I have something of a visual aid for you. A shot of what the wine would have looked like upon release 9-10 years ago together with a shot of this wine today. I’d have filled up the glass of the older wine higher, but, well, there just wasn’t anymore left.

At first glance it just doesn’t look drinkable does it. But in fact this is what often becomes of older dessert wines as well as dry wines as they age. I can’t recommend enough you explore well-made dessert wines such as the late harvest Rieslings, late harvest zinfandel, the Rutherglen sweeties from Australia, Canadian ice wines, well aged port or the stickies from southwestern France and Germany. Many people, usually novices who know just enough about wine to harm themselves, turn their nose up at sweet dessert wines. They shouldn’t. They deliver some of the most complex and fascinating wine experiences on the planet.

And here’s another tip. If you are contemplating introducing your child to wine in a setting that promotes it’s consumption in a moderate setting and around a table, consider starting them on a nice sweet wine. Just a sip or two with dessert. I guarantee they won’t turn their noses up.

Posted In: Wine Education


3 Responses

  1. plouffie - November 15, 2005

    That would explain why a 1990 Tokaji that I picked up in England looked almost like an old red wine.
    I remember my parents trying to figure out what kind of somewhat sweet white they’d start me out with. Whatever they decided on didn’t work, however, my first wine was a syrah at a small cafe in Strasbourg a couple of summers ago.

  2. Lenn - November 15, 2005

    Great shot…and great post. I love well-made dessert/ice/LH wines…and have several that I’m holding onto for at least 10 years…

  3. Derrick Schneider - November 17, 2005

    I’m actually surprised it’s so dark. I wouldn’t think it would oxidize so much in just 11 years.

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