The Bennett Lane website bills their dessert wine as a “traditional port style wine, made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Carignane and all of the classic Portuguese varietals.” While I remember it tasting very Port-like at the time of my visit in 2009, it now more closely resembles a dry sherry. My notes on the wine I tasted in the Bennett Lane tasting room say, “Beautiful, rich flavors abound. Figs, cherries and some spicy notes put me in mind of Christmas.” It still does, only in a different way. The promised fruit has become more of a coffee/caramel/raisin show.
Bennett Lane Dessert Wine carries the subtitle of "After Feasting Wine," and that is still a perfect time for its consumption. At 7.41% residual sugar, it is sweet enough - but not too sweet. At 18.5% abv, it has the kind of kick that caps off a fine meal in style. At $60 for a 375ml bottle, it qualifies as a real splurge. Hopefully it won’t turn into a $30 sherry while it waits its turn under the corkscrew.
What once was a rich red drink is now showing deep browning in the glass. The opaque wine smells of raisins and alcohol. The palate is luscious - raisin notes are draped heavily in burnt caramel. The alcohol does show prominently, but it comes off more like a drink that is much stronger than wine. There is quite a bit of grape residue in the bottom of the bottle. Pairing this wine with the standard spread of pies at holiday time is a natural even in its decline, maybe even more so than when it was in its youth.