1.Any of several full-bodied sweet and semi-sweet white wines, made from late-harvested grapes; see quotation 1988. Also attributive.
This designation is officially regulated, the requisite residual sugar content being stipulated by legislation.
1966H. BeckMeet Cape Wines (2nd ed.) 46Even among the semi-sweet wines there are grades of sweetness ranging up to what the Germans know as spätlese, which has been appropriately named late harvest by the Germans who first produced this type at the Cape.
1980J. PlatterBk of S. Afr. Wines 10Late Harvest, Full-bodied, fruity white with long sweet aftertaste made from a number of late-harvested cultivars.
1981Oude Libertas (Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery)Vol.9No.4, 12The new legislation of December 1980 provided for three categories of ‘Late Harvest’ wines.
1982S. Afr. Digest 8 Jan. 9Two late harvest wines from Nederburg of Paarl have been awarded superior certification by the Wine and Spirit Board, thus achieving a new distinction in wine industry history.
1982J. Platter inFair Lady 3 Nov. 181Late Harvest, A loose designation (no official stipulations) for unfortified white wine, varying from semi-sweet to very sweet. Made from grapes harvested in late summer, or even autumn, which are riper and therefore sweeter.
1988D. Hughes et al.Complete Bk of S. Afr. Wine 328‘Late Harvest’ is a specifically South African usage and refers to a sweetish, medium-to full-bodied white wine with sugar levels of more than 20 but less than 30 grams per litre.
1981Oude Libertas (Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery)Vol.9No.4, 12The requirements for producing a noble late harvest wine state that the residual sugar content has to be derived solely from the grapes from which the wine was produced.
1982J. Platter inFair Lady 3 Nov. 181Noble Late Harvest, Unfortified and natural, but much sweeter and more intense that ‘Special’. Needs to be awarded ‘Superior’ by the Board’s tasting panel before it can be called Noble Late Harvest. Must show typical ‘Noble Rot’ or fungus-infected grape style, usually called ‘Botrytis’, the name of the fungus that denudes the grape of moisture and intensifies the sweetness. Must contain at least 50 g sugar per litre, but if balanced by acidity need not taste cloying. Invariably very expensive.
1982J. Platter inFair Lady 3 Nov. 181Special Late Harvest, The official Wine and Spirit Board classification for natural, unfortified sweet wines, containing no less than 20 g of sugar per litre. Should be delicate and light and about a very manageable 10 degrees alcohol by volume. Usually made from Chenin Blanc (Steen) grapes.
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