Some of you may have an idea when grapes are harvested in areas like Europe, United States, and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere, but others new to wine may not. To clear that up, here’s the answer: late August to early September. It’s that time of year when the wine world celebrates the end of the long growing season which began back in March. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, wine-producing countries like South Africa, Argentina, and Australia are actually begin their wine creation six months ahead of the Northern Hemisphere. Do you think that once these grapes are harvested, that’s it for the year? Not so fast… There is one more opportunity for certain areas of the world to create, and it’s called late-harvest wine!
What is Late-Harvest Wine?
If you have never tried a late-harvest wine, it tastes sweeter and more honeyed than most still wines, and the acidity’s brightness that you feel along the gumlines is also diminished. To give you an idea, the winery monitors the ratio of sugar and acidity along with ideal weather pattern during the growing season. When the correct balance of that sugar and acidity in early September is achieved, it is picked and produced into wine. If the winery decides to make grapes late-harvest, the grapes are left on the vine, which adds more nutrients, increases sugars in the grape, and the acidity level softens. Even the wine body weight increases into a more syrupy feel.
Here are Mario’s Picks!
In this week’s Wine Craft (see the video above!), Mario talks about four different styles of late-harvest wines from around the world. Each style are actually created in different times of the year after September (one is even made right after the first frost in the winter time!):
Picked at First Frost in Niagara Falls
- Wine: Inniskillin Vidal Blanc (375 mL) 2014 $50: BUY ME
Botrytis Affected in Bordeaux, France
- Wine: Chateau Guirand Sauternes (375 mL) $40: BUY ME
Tokaji’s Finest in Hungary
- Wine: The Royal Tokaji The Oddity Furmint $17: BUY ME
Germany’s Icewine is called “Eiswein”!
- Wine: Dr. Loosen Eiswein Riesling (187 mL) 2012 $47: BUY ME
Mario Luna is a Certified Sommelier and owner of Mario Luna Somm, a company that produces online wine courses, blogs, and other user-friendly content full of information perfect for the everyday wine drinker. He lives in Las Vegas, where in addition to working on the famous Las Vegas Strip, he serves as a consultant for large-scale wine events, specialty shops, and all kinds of wine tastings. You can contact Mario at his website or check out his courses here.