Bill has always loved Sauternes, whether they be from Château d'Yquem or an Australian "sticky". Characterized by their complexity, concentration and sweetness they need a relatively high acidity to balance the sweetness. The Yquem will only begin to show its true qualities after aging for twenty years or longer. Wanting the same concentrated flavors and complexity without the wait, Bill blended four wines to create his version of these wonderful wines.

Bliss 2008

With fabulous elegance and poise this subtle, golden wine approaches with intense honey on the nose, a touch of sweetness in the mouth to dispatch the food and then a wonderful warmth at the finish which extends to the top of the throat. A fantastic blend of Rhône and Bordeaux style white wines which will work with everything from foie gras to grilled peaches and ice cream.

About Bliss

Bliss came about because Bill loves Château d'Yquem a Bordeaux dessert wine but it is seriously priced around $900 per bottle. Bliss is Bill's attempt to drink a wine of the quality of d'Yquem at a significantly lower price point.

More nectar than wine, Bliss is really four wines blended together to make this ambrosia of a wine, truly a food of the gods.

Pairing Food with Williamson Bliss

Bliss shows honey on the nose, a touch of sweetness in the mouth and a wonderful warmth at the finish which extends to the top of the throat. It will work best paired with foods having the following characteristics.

  • Texture – Soft
  • Flavor - Soft fruit flavors
  • Spice – Low spice content
  • Loves – Honey and Apricots

Perfect paired with grilled peaches or apricots in desserts. Include nuts, ice cream and always honey. Try with pan seared or pâté de Foie Gras or pâté with toasted walnuts. For a totally decadent dish, spread creamy blue cheese over peach slice, drizzle with honey and perhaps some crushed pecans.

Background of Bliss

The challenge to making a Sauternes in Northern California is the dry climate. French Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes where warm damp autumns encourage the development of Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Sauternes is one of the few wine regions experiencing infections of noble rot as a frequent occurrence, due to its climate. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage making the wines expensive,with a very high cost of production.

Somewhat similar but less expensive and typically less-distinguished wines are produced from German varieties such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer grown in slightly cooler climates and harvested late in the season when the sugar content is high. These “late harvest wines” characteristically have a high level of acidity, caused both by the lesser (climate related) ripeness and because these varieties retain acidity even at high ripeness levels. One downside to these wines is the uncontrollable sweetness across the entire palate, from entry, across the mid-palate and on through the end, they are sugar bombs that show little other wine flavors and often override the food flavors.

Our Northern California climate makes cultivation of Botrytis cinerea even more difficult then in Sauternes so we decided to use Sémillon, Roussanne, Voignier, and Muscadelle grapes to produce a similar wine. Having the advantage of blending known wines we were able control the sweetness, limiting it to the central pallet rather than showing the cloying sweetness often found in late harvest wines.

The result is Bliss, deep gold in color with bouquets of apricots, rich sweet flavor and a warm soft finish. The intensity of flavor means it can be used to accompany or even replace desserts. It’s delicate, acidic balance creates a sensational accompaniment to fruit desserts and dishes with honey. It is also the perfect accompaniment to soft cheeses and fabulous with foie gras.

The best white wine of France is made by Château d'Yquem

Thomas Jefferson

1743 - 1826

Third President of the United States
Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence