Dolce 2005 Napa Valley

Ever since the late 17th century, when Hungarians discovered the ability of Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, to transform the juice of a simple grape into ambrosia, disease—usually the enemy of farmers—has proved a stroke of luck for vintners seeking to produce magnificent late-harvest wines. Outside of Tokaj or Bordeaux, no producer has performed this oenological alchemy with greater consistency than Dolce, a boutique Napa Valley winery formed by the partners of Far Niente for the sole purpose of making a luminous and luscious late-harvest wine. The Dolce 2005 Napa Valley (www.dolcewine.com, $85 for a 375 ml bottle), though lavishly textured and dense, remains surprisingly light on the tongue, with flavors of lemon meringue, coconut custard, and torrone.