2008 Flore de Moscato

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2008 Flore de MoscatoPer Trader Joe’s Ten For The Tasting (pdf) “Even those of us who are not sweet wine sippers were seduced by Flore De Moscato. Light, fruity and sprightly, it delivers sweet flavors with a smooth, bright mouth-feel (not syrupy at all). It’s made exclusively for us by a legendary California winemaker whose career has been dedicated solely to the art of the Muscatel. This delicate blend of Orange Muscat & Muscat Canelli has an inviting floral aroma with flavors of citrus and peach. It’s a great late afternoon hammock wine with enough voluptuousness and eleganceto hold its own as dessert. The enticement is the elixir, but the price, well, we’d be barefaced to say it wasn’t beguiling too – a 750 ml bottle is $4.99″

What I Think:

I’ve long wondered… Am I the only one that ends up coming home from most tasting trips to the wine country with inordinate amounts of Rose and Dessert Wine (mostly Port)? My take is that I rarely take the appropriate time to appreciate these in the moment whether it family or friends that are otherwise distracting me. Is it just me? In these scenarios I usually end up paying $10-$20 a bottle. Long story short, this is as good as all of those. This one is a blend of Orange Muscat & Muscat Canelli. I know above it mentions that it can work as a dessert wine. IMHO, that is the only way to use this one. It is syrupy, but not overly sweet, almost spritzy and surprisingly light (7.5%, yes I looked twice!) given the weight of this wine in your mouth. I get floral notes on the nose with apple early on the palate that becomes sweet, tropical flavors on the finish. Guessing this one could be even better with real dessert. That said, I was surprised I couldn’t track down this legendary California winemaker via the internet but let’s not ask too many questions… Go get yourself a bottle!

Rating: Buy It

2002 Trader Joe’s Paso Robles Estate Bottled Late Harvest Moscato

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Couldn’t find anything. All I know is that it appears to be made by Canyon Ridge. To be honest I’m not sure how much I paid, though I know it was on the lower end. Next time I am at the store I will check to see if they have something similar.

What I Think:

To be honest I had zero intention of writing this one up. I found it opened, but sealed, while cleaning out my fridge where it must have been for a minimum of 6 months. I was sure that it must be completely spoiled but figured in the interest of science I should at least find out. Given that my wife was making peach cobbler as dessert for my Father’s Day dinner there was clearly an opportunity on the horizon. I must say we were both astonished at how nice this was, when considering the circumstances of this bottle it was downright amazing! It still had nice texture and forward sweet, fruity flavors without being syrupy. Again dessert wine is not my specialty, not that any others are but in this case I don’t even care to pretend. If you like white dessert wines, and TJ’s still has anything like it, this would definitely be worth giving a try. Since my wife really enjoys these efforts I am guessing one may be appearing in our house again soon.

Rating: 12th Bottle

NV Rosenblum “Desiree”

Price: $18.00 @ Friend/Gift

What They Said:

Per the winery “To produce this wine, a selection of fortified wines from different regions and different vintages were evaluated. The blend that combined the most intense and most chocolate characteristics was chosen. We have special liquid chocolate syrup that is put together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for us that will coalesce with the blended wine to enhance the flavors of chocolate, coconut and vanilla in the wine that is already geared for being a great chocolate experience.

The fortified wines that make up this blend are Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz, and Zinfandel. These are wines that are kissing cousins in terms of flavor and intensity. In addition they bring together both the new and the old world with varietals that are famous for dessert wines.”

What I Think:

Ah, another dessert wine and a chocolate one at that. When I started this endeavor I at least hoped to establish some expertise in the wine area, dessert wines weren’t even a consideration I didn’t even know that chocolate dessert wines existed. That is my main reason for posting this, so that you would realize that as well.

This wine seems to have the same general idea as a port. The wine portion is made of some of the Portuguese varietals along with Zinfandel. It isn’t clear whether brandy is included but as it is fortified it must be. Wonder what the mix is between wine, brandy and chocolate. This certainly is an interesting character, couldn’t be richer in the mouth. For me, not a huge chocolate fan, I had a hard time getting past these overpowering flavors to get to anything more nuanced. Perhaps I should have tried to chill this a bit, I do like chocolate milk. Given that my guests usually loved it, it was worth having around. If you know someone who loves eating chocolate while drinking wine it may be the perfect gift.

Rating: Not for Me

NV Warre’s Warrior Porto

Price: $11.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

Per the winery “Warrior is the oldest mark of Port in the World, having been shipped continuously since the 1750s. The traditional style has been maintained over the years and is today a classic full-bodied wine with wonderful richness and balance. Aged in seasoned oak casks for 4 to 5 years before being drawn off and bottled following a light filtration. Warrior Special Reserve is ready for immediate drinking and does not require any decanting or ageing. Warre’s Warrior is a classic Special Reserve with dark, intense fruit – a superb Port in the traditional style and one of the finest available for everyday drinking.”

What I Think:

As mentioned with the dinner party I have had another scenario to envision, what to do with dessert wines? I have these around just for these occasions when we actually serve dessert, truth be told I am not and don’t hope to be a connoisseur in this area. My wife actually cares for them more than I do. On occasion, I’ll have one while out tasting or get one in a wine club shipment but barring that I am just scanning the bottles at TJ’s that is cost effective and hope inspiring, that is how this bottle ended up in the house.

Warre’s is part of the Symington Family Estates that is known for bottlings such as Dow’s and Graham’s. It is made from a blend of traditional Portuguese varieties from the Douro Valley though no percentages are listed here, bummer. With these grapes approximately 20% brandy is added to the mix to get us the final product which is kept in the barrel for five years. In the glass it has that ruby tint that one would expect, in the mouth it has the richness you are accompanied to be seems to lack the intensity and depth that I have come to know. This one seems on the lighter side with cherry-ish flavors riding on top of the oak from the barrel. These two aren’t all that well integrated which leaves the taste of brandy and tannins the dominate forces at the end. If there is one thing I need from my ports it is a lingering, enjoyable taste lasting long after I have put the glass down, this one doesn’t deliver. I don’t think it is worth the money, there surely must be cheaper/better port available.

Rating: Skip It