Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rating: ***+ Hogue Late Harvest White Riesling, 2005, Columbia Valley, WA

This Washington State late harvest riesling has almost 5% residual sugar.

It pours light golden with a surprising lift of effervescence. Just the lightest touch of green.

Aromas are of wet slate with a few grass clippings. Steely and intriguing. To the palate, lightly acidic sweetness is the first note. This is followed by a clean, rich, sweet honey middle, which fades fairly rapidly into the clean sunset. You pick up few, if any, of the sometimes funky, but often exhilarating, botrytis flavors of more distinctive late harvest wines.

So the palate doesn't quite live up to the exceptional aromas, and I might just be tempted to move to another sweet wine during an evening. So I'll give this three stars with a plus (for the aromatics), out of five. But for a price below $10 U.S., this is simply an exceptional bargain.

Wine Spectator gave this 88 points and said, "Sweet and generous, with lively balance to support the ripe pear and apricot flavors, lingering well. Drink now through 2008. 69,000 cases made."

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