TN: Three Calif Dessert Rieslings...(short/boring)

Tried these w/ friends ystrday afternoon:

  1. Burgess JohannisbergRiesling Slctd Late Hrvst WineryLakeVnyd/NapaVlly (Botrytis; SaH: 26.0 Brix; 1390 cs; RS: 5.1 Brix; 11.5%) StHelena 1976: Rather golden/brown/bronze color; very strong botrytis/peachy/apricotty bit fresh wallpaper/paste bit earthy slight nutty complex nose; fairly tart quite sweet strong botrytis/apricotty/peachy bit caramel/butterscotch bit nutty/creme brulee very complex flavor; very long/lingering bit tart fairly sweet vey strong botrytis/apricotty/peachy/stewed peaches/peach cobbler bit creme brulee complex finish; a beautiful example of an old botrytis R. $10.25 (Q)

  1. JekelVnyd JohannisbergRiesling LateHrvst Estate/MontereyCnty (SaH: 29%; Picked: Dec.1; 10.1%; 80 dys cold frmtation; RS: 10.0%) Greenfield 1979: Dark brown rather murkey color; intense botrytis/apricotty/stewed peaches slight earthy/nutty bit butterscotchy/caramel complex nose; rather tart/tangy intense botrytis/apricotty/peachy quite sweet bit earthy/butterscotch complex flavor; very long intense botrytis/peach cobbler bit butterscotchy/creme brulee very sweet complex finish; still in amazingly good condition and a pleasure to drink.

  1. MontereyPeninsulaWnry JohannisbergRiesling SweetLateHrvst Monterey (10.0%; 50% botrytized grapes; Hrvstd: Late Nov; SaH: 35 Brix; 15% Chard; 2nd picking Dec 15 at 40 Brix; RS: 19 Brix; stopped frmtation by chilling/filteration; 4 mo. in neutral oak brls) Monterey 1979: Very dark/near black/PX color; very intense botrytis/apricotty/stewed peaches somewhat herbal/Kansas hay mow some earthy bit butterscotch/creme brulee bit nutty quite complex nose; very tart/tangy quite sweet/honeyed intense botrytis/apricotty/stewed peaches some creme brulee/burnt sugar bit earthy/herbal/haymow very complex flavor; very long/lingering very/very sweet/honeyed intense botrytis/apricotty some creme brulee/burnt sugar/butterscotch bit nutty/oxidized very complex finish; intensely sweet and only drinkable in small doses but still an example of a great old botrytis R; amazing stuff. $23.00 (Q)

A wee BloodyPulpit:

  1. The Burgess was a leaker (stored on its side) and had almost half the wine ullaged away. Still in pretty good condition. All the wines were 750 ml.

  1. BlairSwartz was one of the enrollees in my very first wine appreciation class in LosAlamos in 1973. He became very passionate about wine and collected very astutely. Alas, he died a few weeks ago, leaving behind his stash of treasured wines. Ystrday, I went by to visit his widow and daughter and we traipsed down to his cellar and harvested a case of wines I felt probably were dead & gone, but may still have some interest. Most were, in fact, dead if somewhat interesting. These three were the ones that had survived the journey.

  1. The wines we tried were some Alsatians from the early '90’s & late '80’s that were pretty much dead & gone…decent noses but quite bitter on the palate. One was a Mondavi JohannisbergRiesling from the early '80’s. A leaker with almost half the wine ullaged away. When stood upright, the cork had plopped down into the wine. The wine actually smelled pretty interesting and of old R, but was rather oxidized & bitter on the palate. The two reds, including a Caparone TepesquetVnyd Cabernet '79, were pretty much shot, though the noses were rather interesting.

  1. Blair was one of my very dear & treasured wine friends. I have always found it interesting how wine can be such a strong force in forging these close friendships. Even in the downward spiral of his health, I would often go by & share a glass or two of my dinner wine w/ he & Laurie…even if I had to sneak it into his rehab hospital when he was there. I’ll miss him greatly.
    Tom (trippin’ down memory lane w/ these three old friends)

A very nice BloodyPulpit section. Thanks for sharing.

So sorry for your loss, my friend. Thanks for the notes and the back story of them. Cherish life and those who make yours more fruitful . . .


Thanks for the notes and follow on explanation. I’ve had a few pleasant surprises with these older dessert wines too, but don’t chase them down. It’s interesting how thick they can become, versus Sauternes of the same age, which doesn’t seem to gain viscosity.

Did not Blair had died. Sorry for your loss.