Choco­lates love sweet wines

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle -

If you’re think­ing of putting up a wine and choco­late plat­ter for your next party, here’s some­thing you should know. Red wine can be tricky — apart from a few ex­cep­tions, red wines don’t pair well with the dark stuff, as the tan­nins and ca­cao are not palate al­lies. So what’s best? Go for nat­u­rally sweet wines, also known as ‘vins doux na­turels’ and for­ti­fied wines, as they have aro­mas of co­coa, tor­refac­tion and can­died fruit.

What is nat­u­rally sweet wine?

To make nat­u­rally sweet wine, wine­grow­ers use a method called mu­tage. To halt the fer­men­ta­tion of the wine, they add neu­tral grape spirit at a vol­ume of 5-10%, so some of the grape’s nat­u­ral sweet­ness is re­tained. That’s why th­ese wines have a smooth and very dis­tinc­tive taste. This method is also the rea­son for the wine’s high al­co­hol con­tent. There are many nat­u­rally sweet wines, re­flect­ing the va­ri­ety of wine- pro­duc­ing ar­eas, each of which gives the wine its char­ac­ter and typ­i­cal fea­tures.

Banyuls wine

In the East­ern Pyre­nees, the sea­side town of Banyuls has given its name to a enowned nat­u­ral sweet wine. There are dif­fer­ent styles of Banyuls: “rim­age” means it is ma­tured for at least a year, and the “ran­cio” des­ig­na­tion is linked to ox­ida­tive char­ac­ter­is­tics in the wine which give it its golden colour and its taste. The aro­mas are made of can­died fruit, figs and prunes.

The Maury va­ri­ety

The wine grow­ers use a va­ri­ety of grapes — grenache noir, but also carig­nan and syrah. There are sev­eral types of Maury wine: grenat, tu­ilé, am­bré, ran­cio and hors d’âge. The wines with the hors d’âge des­ig­na­tion are com­plex and mem­o­rable. They are aged for a min­i­mum of five years in an ox­ida­tive en­vi­ron­ment. The aro­mas are of dark fruits for the grenat des­ig­na­tion, co­coa and cof­fee for the tu­ilé style.

On to the Port

Choco­late pairs per­fectly with port. This fa­mous Por­tuguese drink is a sweet wine and can be cat­e­gorised as vin­tage, mean­ing that it is from a spe­cific year and just one grape va­ri­ety. Ma­ture ports, mean­ing over 15 years old, are a very rich and com­plex ex­pe­ri­ence for the nose and palate, with aro­mas of co­coa, cof fee and prune. When vin­tage ports are blended, they are known as tawny ports. Con­versely, ruby ports are young and have kept all their fruity flavour.

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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