Late harvest wines are just what they sound like- they are made from grapes left hanging on vines after reaching their fullest ripening potential. As they are left on the vines for a prolonged time, typically for one or two months, they dehydrate and shrink, resulting in a highly concentrated sugar composition. These make a variety of wines with higher alcohol and residual sugar content. Virtually any wine grape can be used for the late harvest method. However, some grape varieties are preferred over for their favourable properties. Read on to learn more.
Some enticing late harvest grape varieties
Riesling is one of the most popular varieties of grape used in making late harvest wines. It is a perfect pick for this method as it is highly acidic- typically, grapes lose their acidity if left on the vines. The best varieties of late harvest Riesling wines are made in cool climates, so importing from such places is worth a shot. They are a perfect accompaniment for lemon flavoured desserts.
Vidal is a hybrid grape that makes an extremely cold-hardy grape variety, perfect for late harvesting. They are generally left on the vines throughout the winter, thanks to their resilience, and make excellent ice wines. They can be paired with fruits or cheese. One of the most demanded grapes for late harvesting is the Muscat varieties. They go perfect with nutty desserts.
Incorporating wine styles
Often, many wine styles are incorporated with the late harvesting method to bring out the most delectable flavours. One of the most popular among them is Sauternais, a wine style named after Sauternes, a place in Bordeaux. It is a blend of various grapes, mostly Semillon and sauvignon. The speciality of Sauternes is that it is near to a misty part of the river Gardonne. The fog envelops the vineyards, resulting in a fruit fungus infecting the grapes. As a consequence, the grapes become exceptionally sweet, making a pleasant dessert wine.
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