The Sweet Wines
The normal tasting menu at Hopkins includes one sweet wine, the Night Owl Vidal Blanc. However for an additional $2.50 you can also include a tasting of the Ice Wine.
Because Hopkins only has two wines in this category, I normally would have grouped these with the Semi-Sweet wines and covered both categories in one post. However, both Christy and I agreed, hands-down these are the two best wines at Hopkins, and as such deserve their own post.
Night Owl 2007 Vidal Blanc Estate Bottled This is a Late Harvest dessert wine. Late Harvest refers to grapes that have been left on the vine longer than normal, being allowed to dehydrate on the vine. The result is a grape with more concentrated sugars, thus producing sweeter wines. The Night Owl is a smooth, full-bodied wine that dances across the tongue. The nose is mellow with hints of apricot, and the wine itself has subtle notes of apricot and hazelnut. It would pair nicely with a fruit and cheese platter, light desserts, or even serve as the finish to a meal all by itself.
Ice Wine 2006 Estate Bottled Also made from Vidal Blanc grapes, Ice Wine differs from Late Harvest in that the grapes are allowed to freeze on the vine before harvesting, and harvesting is usually done at night or in the very early morning to ensure the grapes remain frozen. On the day Christy and I stopped by they were getting ready to harvest this year’s crop of Ice Wine grapes starting at 4:00 am the next morning.
Hopkins’s Ice Wine is hands-down my favorite wine not just from Hopkins but on the wine trail to date. The bouquet is gorgeous, rich, fruity, decadent… The color is a lovely golden yellow, and, to borrow a phrase from the tasting notes, the wine is “fantastically sweet.” This wine just melts in your mouth. It is a beautiful blend of fruit with just a touch of honey. Absolutely gorgeous.
Since first being introduced to Ice Wine a number of years ago during a wine trip to the Niagara region in Canada, I’ve been a big fan. However, not many wine stores carry Ice Wine, and those that do often have a limited selection. I’ve tried those Ice Wines that I could find with mixed results – all are sweet, but not all have the same body and depth – and in general, have found that I greatly preferred those from the Niagara region. That is, until Hopkins… In my opinion, Hopkins’s Ice Wine can hold its own against any of the Niagara wines any day.
Even if you’re not a fan of sweet wines, if you do get to New Preston, CT, don’t pass up the Hopkins Late Harvest or Ice Wine – those two alone are worth the trip!