Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter Eggs for 'grown-ups': Sweetness in a glass.

Photo: Dinner Series (CCL)

Easter is probably the only time aside from Christmas where there really is no limit to the amount of sweet treats we can enjoy over a glorious long weekend. For those who have refrained from chocolate, booze, cakes, biscuits or anything else: the end is in sight.

But true deliciousness is also found in lovely, sweeter style drinks- including the classic dessert wines, sherry and fizz.

#1: Dessert wine

Probably the first thing you think of when you think of sweeter wines, the dessert wine is a simple shot of sweetness which is perfect with a pudding (apple pie works a treat), or in place of a dessert when you get that sweet craving, but have already had WAY too much chocolate.

The volumes of dessert wine consumed in the UK are pretty small, a reason I mainly put down to price; spending £10+ on half a bottle of something you aren’t sure if you will like, can feel like a bit of an investment! However, here we are to make sure you choose and spend wisely!

Tesco Finest Dessert wine, is a gold medal winner, a crowd pleaser and is just £6.79, so you can look swish, try something deliciously different without breaking the bank. Also see our dessert wine piece- Sweet Treats: Jo’s Fave Dessert wines for some more recommendations.

#2: Sweeter ‘standard’ wines

White Zinfandel and ‘blush’ wines are both examples of wines of a sweeter style and despite their slightly bad reputation of being super pink and super sweet- look properly and you can find some nice ones. My advice is to look for something with a little spritz; the acidity and texture from the bubbles really cuts through the sweetness, and stops that kind of ‘sticky’ feeling in your mouth.

Its not just pink that is sweet though; you can get both reds and whites that are sweet, either more naturally (like a Moscato) or that have had sugar added throughout the winemaking process.

For a slightly sweeter red, try Fetzer Crimson (Tesco Wines by the Case, £9.99). It still tastes of red wine, not sugar or confected chocolate or cherry which some do; it just has a touch of sweetness which takes the edge of and makes it SO drinkable. I recently sent my mum a bottle of this- and its her new favourite. Super approachable.

White wine-wise, I prefer to choose an aromatic variety that is ‘naturally’ a little sweeter - Gewürztraminer is such a grape. The floral deliciousness gives it a lovely sweetness, without it tasting like a lollypop.

Alsace in France is well renowned as producing some of the best Gewürztraminer in the world and one to try is Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Zind, which is exclusive to Waitrose Direct and £12.74 a bottle.

#3: Sherry

Sherry is tipped as the next ‘big thing’ in the wine world, and already its showing a promising start. Sherry bars, more choice in supermarkets and wine lists all point to one thing... it's no longer just something your granny drinks after her Sunday roast: sherry is hot stuff.

For newbies to Sherry, check out our Wine for Beginners: Sherry post. As we’re on a sweetie theme here, you want to be thinking of Oloroso sherry, from Spain - try it drizzled over vanilla ice cream for added wow-factor.

Sherry is something that can take a bit of time to get your head and palate around; for a great introduction you can find short courses nationwide where you can taste the different sorts alongside one another and with food. London Wine School offer Tapas and Sherry tasting for £35, so grab a friend and get tasting.

#5: Fizz

Sparkling wines, and in particular Champagnes, are wines which seem to only surface alongside some canapés at the start of the evening or for special occasions. Fish and chips is really the only food combination that ever gets fizz any food and wine matching attention... that is, until we talk about the Demi-Sec varieties. Demi-Sec is French for medium-dry.

You can buy most fizz in Demi-Sec - Cava, Prosecco and of course, Champagne. If you are forgoing your Easter egg this year, but actually feel a bit put out by not treating yourself to anything, then this is it! Laurent Perrier Demi Sec (£29.50, The Champagne Company) is my personal favourite, but all the Champagne houses produce their own version each with its own personality... you’ll have to just try them all!

What are you having as your sweet treat this Easter Bank Holiday?

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