Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tasting Sweet Wines

Sometimes I get folks on tours who prefer sweet wines and would like to taste such on their visits. Their preferences range from White Zinfandel to German-style Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers. Tasting sweet wines can be tough in Napa and Sonoma Counties as these wine regions are best known for dry wines.

There are wineries that produce excellent dessert wines such as Van der Heyden, Dolce, Trefethen, and Artesa. Some wineries, including Prager Port Works, Imagery, Frank Family, and Merryvale, produce sweet, fortified wines. However, my guests are usually looking for sweet table wines to sip or to drink with a meal.

To taste such wines, visitors can go to Beringer and Sutter Home. Both wineries have inexpensive, sweet wines to taste including some that are only available in the tasting rooms. These wines are not made with grapes from the Napa Valley and the tasting experiences are nothing to write home about. Beringer, though, is in a beautiful, historic facility. It is the oldest, continually operated winery in the Napa Valley and offers an array of interesting tours that focus on the winery's history.

The Napa and Sonoma Valleys are generally too warm for German varietals such as Riesling and Gewurtztraminer. Trefethen does make a dry Riesling, but this is usually not sweet enough for the folks I am talking about. My favorite place to taste a sweet table wine is St. Supery in Rutherford. While best known of its Sauvignon Blanc, St. Supery makes a quality Muscato that is a well-crafted sweet wine; although, not from Napa grapes. The Muscato is so popular that the winery has a Muscato-only wine club. St. Supery also makes an array of dry wines including Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and both white and red Bordeaux-style blends.

One of the advantages of taking a private, custom wine country tour is that I can help you pick wineries to visit that are likely to have wines you will enjoy. If you would like to make arrangements for a tour in Napa or Sonoma, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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