Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Kalyra Orange Muscat 2006

Dessert wines get a bad rap from "serious" wine drinkers.  Those who like a dry red's tannins puckering their lips into a fish face simply don't think the sweet side brings much to the table.  That's OK.  To each, his or her own.  Most of the wine I drink is dry, and the dryer the better.  But I pulled a bottle of Orange Muscat from the rack the other night and it reminded me just how nice a good dessert wine can be.

Kalyra Winery, up Highway 154 in the pastoral Santa Ynez Valley northwest of Santa Barbara, makes great dessert wines.  They make some pretty good dry wines, too, but it was their dessert wines Denise and I fell in love with first.  Their Orange Muscat is one we have had through several vintages.  This 2006 has been in the wine rack for some time now, drawing attention to the shameful neglect I have shown the sweet nectar.

The grapes for this wine were sourced from Madeira, California.  Fortified to a 15% abv number, this viscous liquid is a rich, golden color and so thick and heavy it almost tries to stay in the glass.

On the nose are flowers, honey and apricot candy.  The palate shows even more honey, more apricots and some orange peel notes that play off the sweetness beautifully.

Kalyra makes a really lovely dessert, to be sure.  It can carry it's own weight, though, with a nice acidity that makes it pair well with cakes, tarts and the occasional pistachio ice cream.

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