Thursday, January 20, 2011
Dessert wines and French Toast ....
Dessert wines, or ‘stickies’ tend to polarise drinkers. You can tell as soon as they take a sip: a smile of pure pleasure or grimace of sugar overload. The wines also fall into two categories – light, floral extremely fruity freeze concentrated styles, or the lush oily late harvest and/or botrytised (noble) style.
Freezing grape juice prior to fermentation separates ice crystals from very sweet juice – allowing the winemaker to produce a sweeter than average wine. Late harvest wines are made from grapes left on the vine till they shrivel like sultanas with a high level of natural sugar. In the botrytised style, fungus infects grapes late in the season and sucks out water content, adding a honey-like flavour. In France they call it ‘noble rot’.
These wines are usually sold in a 375 ml half bottle and the labour content is reflected the price – so the freeze concentrated wines are generally much cheaper (around $15), while the late harvest or botrytised ones going for upward of $30.
Food matches? The French like to eat pâté with their sweet wines – the rich savoury flavours complementing sweetness and acidity. Similarly, cheddars and blue cheeses are a good match. My personal favourite is with French Toast – the ultimate brekkie treat!
Vinoptima Gewürztraminer 2004 $59
Premium dessert wine from the iconic Nobilo winemaking family. Nick, son of company founder Nikola, has a winery dedicated solely to Gewürz. This is a classic example of a botrytised/late harvest, with flavours of honey, spice and citrus.
Dry River Gewürztraminer 2008 $50
Another top level wine in the late harvest style – spicy, luscious and tropical with peach, ginger and Turkish delight flavours.
Muddy Water Riesling Unplugged $25
Botrytised/late harvest, lighter style wine with voluptuous raisiny sweetness and a lively acid balance.
Phil Parker runs Wine Tours In Auckland, god help him...
Posted by Phil at 1:20 AM