2011 Joseph Phelps "Eisrébe" Napa Valley Late Harvest (375ml)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Fairly pale straw-yellow. Attractive lift to the aromas of mandarin orange and peach syrup; smells a bit like a particularly sweet Moscato d'Asti. A silky fruit bomb on the palate, sweet but not thick, with good grapefruity acidity giving shape to the fruit salad flavors. Doesn't offer the texture or complexity of a botrytis style but shows lovely purity. Finishes with very good perfumed length. Use this in place of the sorbet course.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards has always been just a little bit different, but always in a dignified way. They've got their highly esteemed "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux-style blend, naturally. But they've also been early champions of Syrah, and since 1994, having been overcome by a singular notion to make German-style "ice wine" in Napa Valley, have made their self-styled "Eisrebe" from estate-grown Scheurebe grapes. Normally, ice wine is made from grapes that are frozen on the vine, concentrating the sugars within, and not picked until late in the season--sometimes into the next year! How do they get the same effect in mild St. Helena? Well, the Scheurebe is trucked to a commercial freezing facility in Sacramento. The 2011 Eisrébe has a clean, mead-like flavor, notes of banana liqueur, and rolls over the palate with 20% residual sugar--but just 8% abv. anana liqueur than white raisin, and a mead-like, clean, sweet palate. Dessert, anyone...?