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Dessert Pinot Noirs are relatively rare in the world. The inspiration for Adelsheim Deglacé occurred in 1988,
when Michael Adelsheim was lucky enough to have an empty glass when Rheingau winemaker Josef Becker walked by with
his 1976 Spätburgunder Trockenbeerenauslese at a party after that year's International Pinot Noir Celebration. Adelsheim set out to produce something similar with the 2001 harvest, mostly so they would have a wine
with which to finish their winery dinners.
There are two ways in which dessert wines of moderate alcohol content are traditionally
produced: the grapes can become desiccated by botrytis cinerea ("noble rot") or they can be pressed when still partially
frozen. An Oregon Pinot Noir producer would never want "botrytis" to spread in the vineyards (it ruins red wines), and
Adelsheim can't remember a fall when they had an early freeze (i.e before the winter rains started.) Thus, in winemaker Dave Paige's
first year with Adelsheim, one block of grapes was chosen for the experiment – which was to take the grapes to a freezer
instead of the winery. The resulting faux "ice wine" was delicious, and a hit, so they have continued to produce it every year.
Even with this sweet wine, Adelsheim stays true to its philosophy that a wine's highest use is in pairing with
meals. That means retaining enough of the grapes' natural acidity to ensure that the wine never becomes too cloying.
Deglacé has amazing apricot, fig and honeysuckle flavors that should prove to be a perfect match with red berry tarts, pumpkin
cheesecake, and a wide range of other desserts.
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