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Pass on the pie and have a sip of grape nectar...
Ah yes, I can think of nothing better than to end a perfect meal with a glass of grape nectar. The world has been drinking sweet dessert wines from the beginning of wine production. Vin Santo, late harvest beauties, demi-sec Champagne, Porto, Sherry, botrytis cinerea, Tokay, Sauternes, and Ice Wein, the options make my mouth water.
Dessert wines have one thing in common. They are made from extremely ripe grapes.
Dessert wines characterize a great harvest and have more sugar than needed for fermentation. This excess sugar remains after fermentation and needs to be complimented by the acidity of a long growing season. The combination of super-ripe, sweet flavors and zesty, tart acidity creates an extremely irresistible elixir.
Dessert wines come from every growing region and represent all price and quality levels. Their flavors are as varied too, with saturated notes of raspberries, marmalade, crushed pecans, toffee, honey, clove, dried pineapples, apple pie, and chocolate covered cherries. Many, like Vin Santo of Tuscany and Port of Portugal, are fortified with spirits. Others are infected by botrytis cinerea, or Noble Rot, a mold that draws the water from the grape intensifying its flavor. Late harvested grapes are hand picked with care. Dessert wines are very limited in production, because they are a gamble against the weather.
I find these gemlike bottles a treat no matter how many times I've tasted them. Although my preference is the drink them solo, pair fortified or late harvest wines with a dish with greater sweetness. From the inexpensive to the rare, dessert wines are always a welcome extravagance.
Quady Electra $11 -.750L
Bouteille Call $22 -.750L
Clocktower Tawny $12 -.750L
Lilly Pilly $12 -.375L
Castellare Vin Santo $30 -.375L
Chambers Rutherglen Tokay $18 -.375L
Paradise Ranch Ice Wine $50 -.375L