2011 Minnesota Late Harvest Saint Pepin Dessert Wine
Ten of the Chankaska “family” gathered solemnly on the morning of October 19, 2011, to harvest this wine. We had considered letting the fruit “hang” until frozen in early winter, to make ice wine. But the weather didn’t look right, and the fruit was beginning to show signs of deterioration. No matter, twenty hands spent eight long hours harvesting the sticky golden clusters, which yielded only some 58 gallons of flavorful sweet juice, barely enough to fill a barrel.
In fact that is exactly where this special wine was fermented, in a “neutral” or older French oak barrel, and aged on its “lees” or natural sediments, for 6 months, gaining richness and complexity. This is without a doubt a particularly hand-made and cared-for dessert wine.
Aromas of candied fruits; oranges and lemons and apricots, and the essence of honeysuckle flower predominate in the nose. There are also a certain “sugary” or marshmallow scents and flavors. Very rich and creamy in the mouth, only a small glass is needed to appreciate the delicate yet concentrated nectar that this wine really is.
All by itself after dinner, or with a rich, creamy custard or crème-Anglaise enhanced pastry would be great, yet somehow I am keen to taste it with S’mores on the patio at Chankaska Creek.