Napa Valley's Dolce Winery is the only winery in North America that is solely devoted to producing a single, late harvest wine. It is one of the few wineries in the world willing to make such a commitment, sharing a common philosophy with the great Sauternes producers of Bordeaux.
Named from the Italian phrase Dolce Far Niente – sweet doing nothing – Dolce (pronounced dol' chay) began in 1985 as an idea over a glass of Chardonnay at Far Niente. What started as a project to make a tiny quantity of late harvest wine for the personal enjoyment of the owners, has evolved into the most recognizable and highly rated late harvest wine produced in North America.
By its nature, Dolce is a rare wine that cannot be produced every year. Dolce is made when a natural, beneficial mold called botrytis cinerea attacks the grapes on the vine, while evaporating the water content and concentrating the sugars, acids and flavors. The inaugural 1985 vintage yielded only six barrels, and production grew to nine barrels in 1986. The 1987 vintage was not fine enough to be bottled and 1988 was so warm that no botrytis formed and the grapes were never harvested. The 1989 vintage was the first commercial release of Dolce and it was introduced to the market in 1992.
More than a decade after its commercial debut, Dolce has been able to produce wine in every vintage since 1989. The quantity has varied greatly, from as few as 300 cases to as many as 3,000, depending on how much botrytis develops each year. Plans to expand the future production of Dolce are underway. Currently produced from its own 17-acre vineyard in the Coombsville area, east of the city of Napa, another 10 acres were planted in 2001, with a potential first harvest in 2005.
|The 2007 Dolce is youthfully fruity with layered aromasranging from fresh-baked lemon bars to honey and caramel. In the mouth, the citrus aromas shift to peach and pineapple flavors. The silky entry evolves into a creamy and coating texture that is rich yet balanced through the finish. Concentrated and fruit-driven, this vintage will reveal additional layers of aroma and flavor along with a perfumed bottle-bouquet in the years to come.
| Wine Enthusiast 96 points (Mar 2013)
Another spectacular Dolce, which continues the brand’s string of successes and further emphasizes its standing as one of California’s greatest- white dessert wines. It lacks a touch of the concentration found in the 2006, but it dazzles nonetheless with intricate, sweet flavors of honey, butterscotch, golden-apricot nectar, orange marmalade, pineapple tart, vanilla and buttered toast. And all that is brightened by crisp acidity. Terrific to drink now, and it will hold in a proper cellar for a decade. The blend is 82% Semillon and 18% Sauvignon Blanc.