Thursday, 19 December 2013

Sweet Treats: Jo's Fave Dessert Wines for Christmas

Champagne? Check. Classic White Burgundy? Check. Fruity Pinot Noir? Check. Dessert wine? No? Not yet? Well, you're in luck.Complete the Christmas wine set with a luscious lovely - you've still got time people! - to pair with your Chrissie pudding, mince pies, chocolate yule log and the ultimate cheeseboard. Often overlooked in favour of fashionable crisp, dry whites and bubbles, sweet wines can be a surprising delight when served in the right moment - and Christmas is definitely the right moment.

Earlier this week, Laura gave us three brilliant (and cheap!) dessert wines to go with your Christmas pud. To follow on I've picked out a few of my tried and tested favourite sweeties which should make a cameo appearance this Christmas. Given that one of them is the Samos Anthemis from The Wine Society, which featured in Laura's post, I won't hash over old news but I agree that it is sublime and very, very good value for money!

Moscato d'Asti Elio Perrone, £7.50 from The Wine Society
Sweet and effervescent, what's not to like about this? A long-time favourite of mine, this is like heaven in a glass. Light in the glass, it makes a perfect aperitif with it's sweet, crushed apple flavour and tiny, moussy bubbles. It's just 5.0% abv so works well as either a party starter with canapes like creamy pate, or a lighter finish to a meal, served with a simple fruit dessert.

d'Arenberg The Noble Prankster, 37.5cl bottle, £10.95 from Wine Direct
From South Aussie producer d'Arenberg comes this cheeky little sweetie from Chardonnay and Semillon grapes (a step away from the usual Sauvignon-Semillon sticky blend). Bursting with mixed peel aromas and full of exotic, tropical flavours like peach, melon, grapefruit and mango. Not technically Christmassy, it's divine with a sticky toffee pudding, but also makes for a good match to fruity cheeses, like an apricot Wensleydale or a vintage Cheddar with a sticky quince paste.

Tesco Finest* Dessert Semillon 37.5cl bottle, £6.79 from Tesco
From famed Aussie producer De Bortoli, perhaps best known for their award-winning The Noble One, comes this beauty made for Tesco's own finest* range. Elegant and honeyed, this is bursting with peach and apricot flavours and a sweet, lingering finish. A match made in heaven for a salty blue cheese or for a little decadence try with foie gras - oooh, I say!

Campbell's Rutherglen Muscat, Waitrose, 37.5cl bottle, £11.99 from Waitrose
Technically a fortifed wine as opposed to a traditional dessert wine, I've popped this one in as you'd serve it in a similar way to these other sweeties. Once you've taken in the intense raisiny aroma, this amber gold beaut is powerful, luscious and mouthfilling with raisined fruit and a subtle oak character. From the Rutherglen region in Victoria, Australia, this has an incredible finish and will be best paired with plum pudding or a strong, crumbly cheddar but works just as well served with coffee or well-chilled as an aperitif. Versatility = we like very much!

Whatever sweetie you choose, be sure to serve chilled and in moderation. Merry Christmas!

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