Drink me

Hamish An­der­son Sweet some­things

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - The Cut -

When we per­suade cus­tomers in our restau­rants at Tate to have a glass of sweet wine, they re­act like an old friend has turned up. Most peo­ple rarely drink it at home, yet sweet wine – whether clas­sic like sauternes or for­ti­fied as port or madeira – used to be the most revered, and ex­pen­sive, in the world. As our din­ing habits be­come less for­mal, we lose the occasion to drink dessert wines. Off-dry bot­tles, once sta­ple apéri­tifs, are even more out of vogue. Yet while we might think we like bone-dry wines, many pop­u­lar com­mer­cial bot­tlings have sugar added to cre­ate an easy-drink­ing fruiti­ness – par­tic­u­larly reds.

Great sweet wines can be an im­pact­ful way to fin­ish a meal. The key to their suc­cess is the bal­ance of high acid with el­e­vated sugar. They are usu­ally made from con­sid­er­ably lower yields per acre than dry wine, so are ex­pen­sive to make and cost more. But a full bot­tle will sat­isfy 10 peo­ple, so you’ll spend more but buy less. Match them with desserts or bring them out in lieu of pud­ding.

Aldi Sump­tu­ously Rich Pud­ding Wine NV, New South Wales, Aus­tralia, £8.99 for half

This has prune, roast cof­fee and brown sugar notes. It will over­whelm lighter pud­dings, but is great with any­thing choco­late-based.

2017 Coteaux du Layon, Do­maine des Forges, Loire Val­ley, France, £10.99 for 50cl, Waitrose Cel­lar

Made from chenin blanc, one of the great sweet wine grapes on ac­count of its abil­ity to hold on to acid­ity at high ripeness lev­els. Pineapple, mango and peach, cut by sig­na­ture fresh­ness.

2017 Rusten­berg Straw Wine, Stel­len­bosch, South Africa, £10 for half, Booths

Grapes for this are dried on mats to in­ten­sify the su­gars. It is pow­er­ful, with or­ange zest, cream and gin­ger – bril­liant with crème brûlée.

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