Maroon Late Harvest Muscat Half Bottle 3-Pack
$54.99 $100.00 45% off List Price
2009 Late Harvest Muscat, Napa Valley, 375ml
CT link above
…so back a bit before Christmas, the monkeys delivered an early gift of some
2009 Maroon Muscat Late Harvest, Napa Valley
That I’ve been sipping and sharing for over a week now, no small feat considering it’s only a split.
A pale straw in appearance, initially this was close to fridge temp and entirely too cold to have much of a nose at all, but allowed to warm, honey seems to dominate over a bit of green apple and ethanol.
Pleasant to sip, and compared to other LH I’ve had, quite light on the palate. The honey still dominates, but not in the way of a Mead, as some stone fruit is also lurking. Not an overly sweet LH, and not highly viscous, but with plenty of fruit and some acidity to balance.
First tasting was for dessert, following a Christmas 2nd supper, where I posted the evenings’ flight;
Then on to a Muscat/Moscato/Vignoles/Semillon desert tasting[list]2012 Concha y Toro Moscatel de Alejandría2009 Late Harvest coming up soon -> 2009 Maroon Muscat Late Harvest, Napa Valley2009 Trader Joe’s Moscato Late Harvest2007 Hunt Country Vineyards Vignoles Late Harvest
2010 Waterbrook Sémillon Late Harvest Sémillon Walla Walla ValleyNV Quady Winery Orange Muscat Essensia[/list]
The Moscatel was the lightest of the evening, followed by the Quady then the Maroon. TJ’s, Hunt and the Waterbrook were substantially more viscous and mouth coating than the Maroon, but one was labeled an ice wine, and the other close to it. Quite a spectrum of samples, but we did have a couple 2009’s, the Maroon and TJ’s for LH. Surprisingly he TJ Moscato was the clear winner with five tasters (4-F, 1-M), with four of the five detecting a bitterness on the finish of the Maroon, it’s only negative.
Following New Year’s Day’s supper, the TJ and Maroon were poured blind for three additional tasters (2-F, 1-M). Here both women liked the TJ and the male the Maroon, with no mention of bitterness. The women just preferred the additional sweetness not offered by the Maroon.
This evening, with a new set of tasters and again blind, (2-F, 2-M), the split was even, the women preferred the TJ and the men the Maroon.
I followed this up as well and found some of the objectionable ethanol had all but disappeared, and the bitterness substantially diminished; even to the point had I not been searching for it it would likely have passed unnoticed.
From it’s initial opening, it was stored, sans Ar., in it’s corked bottle upright in a standard fridge, as were the other bottles.
This evening the Maroon was my clear preference over the TJ, a reversal from my initial impressions. The honey is still there, a bit or nuttiness as well and that sweetness seems to have diminished, it just seems to have integrated or smoothed out over the week it’s been open. A bit of a chameleon, but a pleasant one.
Not sure where the price point will come in here for this $30 at release split, but at ~$15 it would be a buy.
Nice to see Maroon here. I’ve had some really nice Cabs and Zins from them.
I keep trying to hold out, but WD keeps pulling me back in!!!
Last wooter to woot: MarkDaSpark
I also was lucky enough to try a bottle of this Late Harvest Muscat. My impressions are not all that different from Ron’s. When I think Late Harvest I tend to think, sweet, slightly viscous, sipping heaven. I like my late harvest wines sweet, with just enough acid to not make it cloying. To me, this version seemed much more like a sweet white wine than a late harvest. There was a lot more acid then I was expected and it threw me off me off at first. I think that those who don’t like the really sweet dessert style wines, may find a happy medium with this one.
I did get plenty of honey, as Ron noted, but I also got notes of citrus. My wife’s first impression was “whoa alcohol”. While I didn’t pick up the alcohol as much as she did, it was present, and probably more-so because we were expecting more sweetness.
I didn’t really get a bitterness out of it, but what he may have been perceiving as bitterness, I may have been picking up as acid.
One additional note, as this warmed in the glass, the finish became really long, and quite pleasant.
In summary, this was pleasant, though not my preferred style for a late harvest. At this price I would have a number of more preferable options, but much of that is just my preference.
How interesting. I also found a bottle of this last week, and our findings were somewhere in between and in contradiction to you two!
When served right out of the fridge (too cold*) it was bitter, but that mellowed out as the wine warmed. Unlike you I found it almost flabby and lacking in acidity, and now I really wish I hadn’t been trying to taste it after having key lime pie…
When a bit warmer I found it to be much more like an off-dry white table wine than a dessert wine. It lacked the viscosity and perceived sweetness that I associate with dessert wines. If pairing it I’d definitely go with a cheese plate and not sweets.
*I’ve often found this bitterness in rhone white varietal wines that are off-dry and over chilled, which is normally the temperature I like late harvest dessert wines…
Edit: To clarify, the wine is fine, I think the “Late Harvest” on the label threw a bunch of us based on expectations. If you are looking for a boytrized late harvest/icewine type dessert wine which pours thick and sweet, this isn’t it. Just like forgetting you’re drinking milk and taking a sip of what you expect to be water. If you want something a bit more restrained, this is quite nice.
Thanks to rj, North and mother for the reviews. I enjoy LH wines and SWMBO loves Muscat despite not liking most dessert wines (or any ice wines). Anything over 10% RS is too sweet for her so at 8% this would still be in her wheelhouse. It seems a bit pricey although I paid as much for the Harvest Moon LH Zin offered recently (albeit with the knowledge that it was priced a bit higher than in the past because of upgraded holiday shipping).
Hmmm… will have to give some additional thought to this one.
I’ll circle back here with attempt to refine my thoughts as well, as both North and Mother got me to thinking a bit.
I hadn’t before associated too chilled with creating bitterness, something to consider in the future.
Last night, an hour and a half or two after the four others tasted, I got to finish off the bottle and think on it a bit as I did so. The bottle had warmed to a cool cellar temp, 15~16C and the earlier perception of bitterness was, as I noted, nearly absent. Also diminished however was some of the citrus/acidity from when served cooler, that I’d like to see a bit more of here so it doesn’t tilt anywhere near flabby as it warms.
I wouldn’t call this off-dry; for those I think a Scott Harvey “One Last Kiss white” or the 2009 Emblem we’ve had here, or a Spätlese Riesling or Gewurtz.
This was clearly in the dessert category for me, but dessert-light, and still a sipper, not an off-dry drinker.
I think pairing with some dried fruit or cheese would have been preferred over the solo sipping we did.
Hopefully Paul will visit today, as I’d really like to know some numbers for pH and TA; for self calibration if nothing else.
So it seems your saying that this wine is gender specific? TJ’s is for the girls and this one is for guys
It sure seemed that way!
At least based on those I was able to present it to.
Darn those Woot writers … got Muskrat Love stuck!
And great reviews by all!
Thank you for your comments. When we made this wine it was very difficult to stop the fermentation so we ended up at 8% residual sugar. The viscosity issue you described is most likely from the residual sugar. For my taste it was perfect, not too much sugar but lots of fruit and romance. One Master Sommelier in Mexico city described it as a very sexy wine.
Thank you for mentioning our Cabernet and our Zinfandel. We make several different styles and love making those wines.
Happy New Year,
Thank you for your comments. As I mentioned before we really enjoyed making this wine but were shooting for less residual sugar than most other late harvest wines. Stopping the fermentation was challenging but we were able to get close to our target sugar and it is perfect for people who prefer less sugar.
Thanks for dropping by Paul. I rather liked the lower viscosity you’ve done here.
Hoping you may still be able to address an earlier question:
** …I’d really like to know some numbers for pH and TA… **
Thank you for your comments. I cannot put my hands on the PH or the TA. The winery is still closed for the holidays but I will try to find that for you.
Thank you Paul for joining us and for offering up your late harvest Muscat!
As soon as Missouri is added back to the approved list, I will welcome 3 of these with open arms!
Sad to have to pass on this due to regulations…
Yes, I knew it.
WD comes thru again with some IH!
Aged to perfection and ready to go.
Great way to begin a new year, in another 2-hours here