By Lenn Thompson, Editor and Publisher

HIMMEL_LRGThey don't always get a lot of attention, but there are quite a few late harvest and ice-style wines being made on Long Island. I say "ice-style" because the local versions of those wines are typically harvested long before they freeze on the vine, frozen in commercial freezers and pressed from there.

This wine, Martha Clara Vineyards 2007 Himmel ($31) is one of those commercially frozen wines, made with 60% riesling and 40% Gewurztraminer from the producer's own vines.

What works about the best local dessert wines is acidity to balance out all of that sugar. We can thank cool evenings, even in the height of summer, for the kind of slow ripening that leads to balanced wines.

Except 2007 was warmer than most — great for reds and some whites — but that ripeness (and lack of acidity) is apparent in this wine.

Medium-gold in the glass, the enticing nose blends honey with dried apricot, peaches and subtle citrus blossoms. Perhaps a little botrytis?

The palate shows great flavor — honey-roasted apples, faint brown spice — but low acidity leaves it feeling flat, actually flabby, in the mouth. The finish is very long with that brown spice really stepping forward, but the near-cloying sugar-to-acid ratio here keep this from being a truly special wine.

Producer: Martha Clara Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long ISland
ABV: 12.5%
Rating:   20 (2 out of 5 | Average)

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