1989 Santino Sonoma County Riesling Dry Berry Select Harvest
At a recent tasting, I was amazed to be treated to 3 specific dessert wines credited to master winemaker Scott Harvey. Making his mark at a number of different wineries before settling in on his own brand, his German wine training afforded him to produce this gem of a dessert wine from Amador County. When you think of a wine produced from the Riesling grape, you imagine clean and golden in color. After 30 years in bottle, I can only describe this as Jed Clampett’s Black Gold-Texas Tea. With a dark amber mercurocrome hue and a thickness resembling a 10×30 motor oil, the juice was thick and creamy with apricot, quince, molasses and orange extract. Exotic tea aroma’s burst forth with every whiff intake and the residual sugar sweetly coats your teeth and palate. Harvested on Nov. 12, 1989, the grapes were picked at a brix of 48 degrees (most wine grapes are picked at 21 to 25) with a residual sugar of 27.7. A true Trockenbeerenauslese, sweet, rich and perfectly balanced, it just goes to show why truly great dessert wines can last for decades and continue to evolve into an even greater example of The Nectar of the Gods.