Milbrandt Vineyards 2015 Pheasant Vineyard The Estates Late Harvest Riesling, Wahluke Slope, $25
Milbrandt brothers Butch and Jerry have helped turn Mattawa, Wash., and the surrounding Wahluke Slope into a wine-producing region of worldwide acclaim, yet their work with Riesling might go overlooked. Pheasant Vineyard is a warmer site than most, and that allows young winemaker Emily Haines ripen this lot of Riesling early and hang long for the purpose of producing a delicious dessert style. In fact, she pushed it clear to Dec. 16 until picking. That allowed her to develop aromas of poached pears with honey, honeysuckle and powdered sugar. The resulting nectar is full-bodied, backed by caramelized pears, honey and lemon thyme, a blend of herbs and acidity to adroitly deal with the residual sugar of 13%. This earned the title of best dessert wine at the 2017 Cascadia International Wine Competition.
Production: 375 cases