Dolce is a product first launched by Far Niente back in 1985, and the wine quickly claimed the title of one of the finest dessert wines produced in California, a title which I would say holds up to this day.
Formed in 1885 in Oakville, California, Far Niente is a winery that has stood the test of time across the board. Due to the onset of Prohibition, the winery was forced to close its doors in 1919.
This temporary shutdown lasted six years until the estate and vineyard were purchased and revitalized and soon added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Dolce Napa Valley Late Harvest Review
This wine is made in the style of a French Dessert wines called Sauternes.
These wines encourage the development of a beneficial mold called botrytis, also known as “the noble rot.”
Botrytis draws moisture out of the grapes and leaves them in a desiccated, raisin-like state, which concentrates the sugars and flavors of the wine, allowing for a richer, more intense outcome.
This particular wine is aged in French oak for 32 months to help impart intensity and some lovely secondary notes.
Dolce Napa Valley Late Harvest Summary
- Brand: Dolce (Far Niente)
- Country: California
- Region: Napa Valley
- Wine Type: Dessert Wine
- Varietals: Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc
- ABV: 13.5%
The wine is a bright golden hue in the glass and is absolutely gorgeous.
Despite how rich the wine is on the palate, the body appears remarkably light for a dessert wine, and the legs are a bit more watery than you may have expected.
Dried apricot, orange zest, and rich pineapple immediately fill the nose, along with poached pears.
These major aromatics are complimented by the more subtle notes of minerality, cloves, and orange blossoms.
The taste of this bottle more or less mimics the aromas you get out of it.
Think orange liqueur, macerated pineapples, subtle notes of baking spice, toasty oak, and vaguely floral notes for the most part.
The body is remarkably lithe and does not feel to viscous or sticky on the palate, making this wine incredibly easy to drink despite the richness present.
What Does Dolce Napa Valley Late Harvest Pair With?
This is always a fun question for me when we are talking about dessert wines.
I really like to mix it up and take intensely tropical, sweet wines like this and pair them with super funky, pungent blue cheeses.
The sugar helps to mellow out the funk of the cheese and lets you really enjoy the flavors present.
Your second option here, thanks to the fact that this wine has not only ample sugar but beautiful acidity to balance it out is to go for rich and robust meat-based options.
Foie Gras is actually the traditional pairing go-to for Sauternes in restaurants, so I would highly recommend giving that a spin.
Your other option here is to really lean into the robust dessert flavors of the wine.
If you decide to go this route, I would personally recommend fruit tarts or cheesecake topped with a caramel drizzle.
What Wines Are Similar to Dolce Napa Valley Late Harvest?
I would recommend trying French Sauternes. They feature many of the same flavors and aromatics and are widely considered to be one of the finest styles of dessert wines across the world.
A couple of my personal favorites are Chateau Guiraud, Chateau Doisy-Vedrines, and Chateau Doisy Daene.
If you have a particularly special occasion coming up, you could even try springing for the illustrious Chateau d’Yquem, which is considered to be the pinnacle of Sauternes.
So much so that it is quite literally ranked in a class all on its own.
This is an absolutely delicious replication of a classic style from a Californian winery whose roots run quite deep, both literally and proverbially.
If you have a sweet tooth and prefer to drink your desserts, I cannot recommend this bottle highly enough.