When someone mentions wine, most people will immediately think red or white. If pushed, they might remember Champagne (unintentionally ignoring all of the excellent sparkling wines produced elsewhere in the world). Which leaves us with the unloved and under-appreciated categories of fortified, rosé and, in today’s case, dessert wines.
Those in the know, however, will understand that the latter categories can offer aromatic, textural and flavour experiences that red, white and sparkling wines simply cannot match. Once again, it all comes down to knowing your personal tastes and preferences, and recognising the signs when confronted with a plethora of choice.
- Clarity: Clear
- Intensity: Medium
- Colour: Gold
- Condition: Clean
- Intensity: Medium+
- Development: Youthful
- Sweetness: Sweet
- Acidity: High
- Tannin: N/A
- Alcohol: Low
- Body: Full
- Flavor Intensity: Pronounced
- Finish: Medium+
- Quality: Very Good
- Readiness/Cellaring: Can drink now, potential to cellar
- Identity: Hungrary / Tokaji / Furmint + others
- Price: High-priced ($45)
- Long, thick tears with amber hues
- Aromas of dried apricots, peach, nectarine and white florals
- Flavours of dried apricots, nectarine, marmalade, preserved orange peel, orange candy
- High acidity, mouthwatering and palate-cleansing
- Sweet, fresh, but not cloying
- Clean, easy-to-drink dessert wine, serve with blue cheese, nuts and dried fruits
While it has been a while since I last reviewed a dessert wine, from reading (or seeing) you can tell that I hold this style in high regard. These wines offer a sweetness that is not cloying, with refreshing flavours that linger on the palate long after the last drop has slid down your throat.
With such wines, acidity is important. This is not just a sensation of sourness, but an element that affects your palate by inducing saliva production – think of it as the structural opposite of tannin, which causes a drying sensation in the mouth. Without acidity to balance things out, such sweetness would seem sticky and cloying, making them less enjoyable.
While I put this wine in the “High-priced” category, consider that this bottle contained only 250ml. If this were a full bottle you can assume that it would be priced well into the “Premium” region. With this in mind, perhaps I am more appreciative of what this wine has to offer.
Smaller sizing doesn’t just make such wines more affordable – you may already be aware that too much sugar isn’t good for your health anyway, so dessert wines should always be enjoyed in moderation. Thankfully, dessert wines have a reputation for being able to age for a very long time. If you happen to have a bottle open, as long as you keep to the basic principles of wine preservation, you should be able to enjoy it over the course of weeks, if not months.
Read more: If Wine Is Bullshit, So Is Everything Else