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Great Ways to Enjoy Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

Lets talk about late harvest. The grapes that make late harvest wines are picked significantly later in the harvest season than the rest of the grapes (its not just a cute name…). We’re talking as late the middle of November or even early December. By that time whatever is left on the vine is more like a raisin than a grape. Some grapes will dehydrate by themselves, but most of them get a little help from an interesting little fruit mold by the name of Botrytis Cinera (also referred to as the Noble Rot). If you’ve ever left strawberries in the fridge for too long, then you know this mold very well.

The Noble Rot grows on the skin of the grape and penetrates it, causing its spores to germinate. When this happens the water in the grape will evaporate and the sugars will become concentrated. The concentrated sugars make whatever juice is left very sweet. Sweet wines are often referred to as “dessert” wines, but I think they’re more versatile than being just dessert. Don’t get me wrong, late harvests are amazing at the end of a meal, but you can also incorporate them into the meal itself - wherever could use a bit of sweetness.

Here are a few recipes that are great ways to use our 2011 Honig Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc:

Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Honig Late Harvest and Apricot Reduction, Honig Late Harvest Glazed Carrots and Wild Rice

For the duck:
4 boneless duck breasts
1 shallot, minced
½ cup Honig Late Harvest plus 2 tbls for glaze
½ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice plus zest
2 tbls butter
salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Score the breast on the skin side with hatch marks to ensure even rendering of fat. Season both sides of breast with salt and pepper. Start the duck in a cold large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sear skin side down until golden brown. Flip breasts and glaze with 2 tbls of Late Harvest. Transfer skillet to oven and roast breasts for another 8-10 minutes. Transfer breasts to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to rest. Pour off any excess fat from pan and reserve for later use. Add shallots to skillet and sauté until translucent. Deglaze with Late Harvest and reduce by 1/3. Add juice, zest and apricots. Bring to a boil and simmer. Remove from heat. Swirl in butter to finish sauce. Once duck is rested, slice on the bias and drizzle pan sauce over breast.

For the carrots:
1lb carrots cut on the bias
4tbls unsalted butter
¼ cup water
½ cup Honig Late Harvest
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ tsp cinnamon
1 big pinch chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1tbls chopped parsley for garnish

In a stainless steel saucepan reduce late harvest by 1/2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally until carrots are tender and sauce becomes shiny and glaze-like, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a serving dish and garnish with the chopped parsley.

For the rice:
Just use your favorite boxed wild rice and follow the instructions on the label. I like to finish the rice with some toasted walnuts for texture and substitute the water with stock for flavor.

Here are a couple of summer inspired recipes as well:

Late Harvest BBQ Sauce

2 cups ketchup
2/3 cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup Honig Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
7tbls brown sugar
1 tbls black pepper
½ tbls onion powder
½ tbls ground mustard
1tbls lemon juice
1 ½ tbls Worcestershire sauce

Add all ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer uncovered for 1 hour 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Great on ribs and chicken.

Late Harvest Margarita (6oz)

2oz blanco tequila
2oz Honig Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
1oz orange juice
1oz lime juice

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice cubes. Serve either on the rocks or blended in a salt rimmed margarita glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

This should get you started on some of your very own Late Harvest recipes. Remember, just because it’s sweet doesn’t mean it just for dessert.
Post By:   Rapha
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