Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Did You Know?... About Dessert Wine

Dessert wine isn't just a clever name. It's used to denote wines intended to be drunk with, or sometimes even as dessert. These wines tend to be very full bodied, generally higher in alcohol content, and very sweet. These big, bold flavors don't suit other courses.

Ice Wines: Made from grapes left on the vines until they freeze. This concentrates the sugars and flavors into a single drop of juice, and creates a dense, sweet wine. Commonly made from Riesling, Vidal, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, to name just a few.

Noble Rot Wines: Cold, wet harvests can allow wine grapes to produce a special mold, called botrytis. This dries out the grapes, concentrating the juice, and imparts a funky flavor like a mixture of stinky cheese, nuts, and honey. The most famous of this type might be Sauternes.

Fortified Wines: As some wines ferment, the winemaker adds a neutral spirit like brandy in the middle of the process to stop the fermentation. This keeps the sugar levels and alcohol content high. The styles, however, can range from sweet to dry. Sherry and Port are common examples.

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