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Henry Earl Estates 2016 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Red Mountain, $25
Dick and Wendy Shaw’s 313-acre Quintessence Vineyards on the eastern slopes of Red Mountain is dominated by red Bordeaux varieties and red Rhone grapes, but they’ve devoted 6 acres for Sauvignon Blanc – the only white grown. The Grist clone was established in 2014, and this Sauternes-style dessert wine is the result of its first commercial vintage. The results from are stunning. Ripening never is an issue on Red Mountain, and Mitch Venohr pulled this lot at nearly 38 Brix from this southwestern most block at Quintessence. Aromas of apricot jam, whipped honey and banana chips lead to matching flavors in a luscious fashion. A complex blend of allspice, clove, peach skin and nectarine acidity provides pleasing balance to the 19% residual sugar. With any luck, this will be part of the dessert course at the gala for the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame, where the Shaws will be inducted on Aug. 10.
Production: 92 cases