Jan 24 2012
Now, we know how I feel about neglecting sparkling wine during a meal (or any time for that matter): nonsense! But dessert wine? It’s the red-headed step child of the evening’s libations, rather than the climactic sipper for which it is intended. As children, we couldn’t wait for dessert; hiding vegetables in napkins, sneaking bites to the dog, inhaling chicken with rice to just be done with dinner! Now, seemingly, dessert, and particularly dessert wine, is overlooked; by the end of dinner we are either too full, or our wallets are feeling the pressure.
Ok, maybe dessert to share; there is room for one more bite. But more wine, too? Its getting late, have to be up early, wa Wa WA!
There is a reason those amazing bottles of dessert wines come in smaller sizes, and are served in glasses that belong in a dollhouse! The wine is richer and sweeter, the burn is hotter and heavier, and the taste is pure bliss. Like I said, climactic.
I have a personal preference for Sauternes, a region in Bordeaux, France from which botrytized Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc come. Botrytis is a fancy name for rot that, rather than ruin the wine, produces a sweet and concentrated style of wine; noble rot, as it is called. These wines usually display spicy aromas of dried apricot, lemon tart, honeyed apple, vanilla, and brandied white flower. This bad boy with food- quit it! Sauternes is particularly delicious with vanilla or chocolate desserts; the richness of the wine marries the richness and creaminess of vanilla or chocolate, allowing those notes of lemon tart and honeyed apple to pop.
Late harvest wine is another style of dessert wine. As the name suggests, late harvest wines are picked later in the harvest season, so the grapes are riper, thus producing a sweeter and more concentrated style of wine. Late harvest wines can be made from many types of grapes including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or Zinfandel. We happen to carry the Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel, a wine with a nose of black pepper, spice, lavender and violet, black raspberry, cocoa, and vanilla; the palate is spicy, with black pepper and clove spice the dominant flavors. The explosive fruit is balanced with nice acidity, making the wine sweet but not candy-like.
So don’t forget about that dessert wine at the end of your next meal, elaborate or not.