One of the best sweet dessert wine values out there has to be Pacific Rim’s 2007 Vin de Glaciere Riesling from Washington state, which showed beautifully at the end of a dinner with good friends the other night and is a shoe-in for pairing with Thanksgiving pies. Actually, this is a tale of two dessert wines – Pacific Rim’s, with a suggested price of $14 for a half-bottle, and a well-known California wine, also in half-bottle, that sells for $80 or more (yes, you heard right). After a crowd-pleasing main course of beef Burgundy, one of my wife’s signature dishes, served with plenty of red wine, it was time for her apple tart, made from apples grown down the road at a local farm.
The Pacific Rim wine, from the Selenium Vineyard in Washington’s Yakima Valley, was a superb accompaniment, providing a refreshing lift that counterbalanced the sweetness. Orange is the dominant note, joined by orange peel, honey and lime with a high level of underlying acidity that made it effortless to drink and a perfect companion to the apple pie. Alcohol is a modest 10.5 percent. With demand among our friends now high for more dessert wine, I opened a second bottle, the aforementioned California wine. Though perhaps more complex, it was also more syrupy than the Pacific Rim and lacked the riesling’s refreshing zip. It was also considerably higher in alcohol and would have been better with fois gras or other rich foods. Pacific Rim’s Web site has some interesting notes on how the wine is made. The winery, by the way, makes a range of rieslings from dry to sweet and has developed a useful “riesling scale” that makes it easier to classify ripeness level in the wines. Received as a press sample.