By Gary Parker, Owner
The WineSellar & Brasserie
Delicious dessert wines for a fabulous finale
The holiday season is when most dessert wines are consumed throughout the year. As groups gather to dine and celebrate, those after-dinner wines can mark the occasion with a stunning finale. There is a wide range of dessert wines hailing from all over the planet. The following is a general guide to what we can find locally.
Sparkling Wines and Champagne
Yes, there are sweet versions of the bubbly! Look for the words on the label such as Demi-Sec, Doux, or Molleaux, all of which signify a degree of sweetness. From Italy, look for Asti-Spumante or Dolce. These are all wonderful with cheeses and pastries. La Luca Sparkling Rosé at around $15.99 is very nice and reasonably priced.
THE classic after-dinner wine, made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blends. Picked very late in the season, they are super-sweet, dehydrated, and in most cases affected by the ‘Noble Rot’. These wines are smooth, elegant, complex, and long-lasting. They are excellent with peach tarts, cheese, and foie gras. The 2009 Castelnau du Suduiraut at $72.99 is excellent.
Long names are long on character and complexity. Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and Ice Wines are typically made with Riesling grapes. The longer the name, the more select they are with the grape selections, which translates to increasing levels of sweetness. These can age for decades, and are low in alcohol, but high in intensity. Ripe cheeses, nuts, or just enjoy them on their own. Look for 2008 Max Ferd von Richter Veldenzer Auslese at about $56.99
This would include the different and varying styles of Sherry and Madeira. Using oxidized grapes, and adding grape brandy to produce a 17-20% alcohol content. The wines are loaded with lovely aromatics of toasted nuts, and are fabulous with dried fruits, ripe cheese, and of course nuts. A nice Sherry is Lustau East India Solera Sherry at $26.99. Or try a Broadbent “Rainwater” Medium-Dry Madeira at $41.99.
As with Fortified Wines, there are different styles of Port, so uses may vary accordingly. The most popular Ports are Vintage and Late Bottle Harvest (aka: LBV). These sweet, dark red/black wines are age-worthy. The classic combination is Stilton cheese and roasted nuts. Tawny Ports are sweeter, yet lighter in color and weight. They improve significantly as they get older. Try to find some 30- or 40-Year Tawny, and enjoy with figs, roasted nuts and cheese. Ferreira Vintage 2007 Vinho do Porto is quite nice at $78.99.