With Christmas approaching you may be looking at certain beverages that you wouldn’t have on a regular basis throughout the year. Dessert wine being one of these.
I have a real sweet tooth and love a scrumptious and refreshing dessert wine. What your looking for when tasting a dessert wine is to have that sweetness, fruit depending on the style and the key thing is to have your palate refreshed with acidity. The acidity of the wine is important as that stops it tasting like syrup. A great dessert wine should give a mouth watering feel not “I’ve just drank undiluted cordial!” Yuk!
The fascinating think I find about dessert wine is how they are made… and not always attractive looking. In its simplest term, mouldy grapes makes some of the most expensive dessert wine in the world, also known as noble rot and botrytis. You may see the term Noble Rot used on a label which indicates how it became sweet.
Other ways to gain sweetness is through drying out the grapes once picked (this is a method that is also carried out to make the famous Amarone). Or leaving the grapes to hang for longer on the vine before picking, on the label you would be looking for “Late Harvest” Frozen grapes, known in Canada as Ice wine and Germany as Eiswein is when the grapes are left on the vine to freeze.
Dessert wine can come in half bottles so give yourself a treat this Christmas. Ask your local independent wine merchant for help when choosing.