Friday, June 22, 2012

How-To: Pick an After Dinner Drink

Wine presents us with a wide range of flavors and styles, options to enjoy for very different reasons. While most talk of wine pairings discuss it with a meal, there are other options that go equally well with dessert, or even to end a meal on their own.

  • Digestif: Liquers and brandies, intended to be consumed after a meal to aid digestion. This can be grappa or limoncello, etc.
  • Fortified Wines: Ports and sherries with rich, sweet flavors can be a good complement to heavier desserts or cheese courses. "Fortified" mean alcohol has been added, so they are more alcoholic than traditional wine.
  • Dessert Wines: Sweet and fruity wines, like Late Harvest Rieslings or Ice Wines can complement super sweet desserts. Sweet can be created in many ways: sometimes a sweeter grape (like Muscat) creates the sweetness, sometimes the vintner allows a late harvest for extra ripening, and other times sugar is added to the wine to make it sweet.
  • Sparkling Wines: Sweeter sparkling wines pair well with lighter, fresh desserts. Prosecco or Cava are good choices, avoid anything "brut" or dry.
  • Spirits: Hearty liquors like bourbon can be enjoyed on their own, or with desserts that include it as an ingredient.

Port with the cheese plate and a late harvest wine with a mousse-like cake.

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