AG Pick: Merryvale Antigua Dessert Wine

One of the best things is discovering a wine that you forgot was in your collection.  It’s like finding a hidden treasure that you never knew you buried.

I had that experience this weekend with Merryvale Antigua dessert wine.  I purchased a few bottles several years ago and somehow my last remaining bottle had migrated to the back of my liquor cabinet, hiding behind bottles of rum, scotch and tequila that I haven’t looked at in months, if not longer.

Merryvale AntiguaI became a fan of Merryvale wines after drinking a bottle of their Starmont Merlot on my 22nd birthday.  A couple of years later, it was the first winery I visited during my first trip to Napa.

I remember that first visit because it’s when I tasted the Antigua dessert wine.  Relatively new to fortified wines, I was intrigued by the Antigua’s flavors and complexity.  I asked for a second taste before I finished my first one.

The Antigua is made from Muscat de Frontignan and fortified with the addition of California brandy.  The wine is aged an average of 11 years in French oak, which enhances the flavor and helps to give the wine its beautiful amber-gold color.

Your first sniff of the Antigua welcomes you in with enticing aromas of orange peel and almond that continue to develop in your mouth.  These flavors are rounded out with hazelnut, caramel and a slight hint of milk chocolate-covered espresso beans on the warm and lingering finish.  The rich and thick mouthfeel will leave you satisfied, yet craving another sip.

The Antigua is delicious on its own or it can be served with cheese or desserts ranging from crème brûlée to chocolate cake.

A 500ml bottle of the Merryvale Antigua Muscat de Frontignan dessert wine costs $29.  It can be purchased online at