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The Sweetest Thing

I was faced with a dilemma the other evening – I had was home after a long yet rewarding day at work, I had finished all of the most pressing household chores of the day and I sat down with my glass of wine (yes an H3 approved 5oz pour in an appropriate glass). Suddenly a little voice in my head insisted I needed something sweet – I resisted; after all I had eaten one of Chef Jen’s delicious dinners, so I wasn’t actually hungry. But that voice was VERY insistent, in fact it would not let me rest until I had consumed my daughter’s chocolate pudding packs. So there I was a slob who was guzzling wine and stealing chocolate from a six year old breaking all of my good intentions and actions for the day and another voice in my head began to talk; after the sugar coma passed of course.

There had to be a better way – “how could I feed my sweet tooth and satisfy my need for a glass of wine? “

Eureka!! Dessert wine – It could be just crazy enough to work – something sweet to sip on – two birds one stone and all of that. So I have spent the last few weeks immersing myself in the golden nectar that is dessert wine just so you may skip the humiliation of thievery from small children.

So there are several different ways that a dessert wine comes about – here are the major ways and some of my top picks:

Natural Sugar – The winemaker allows the grapes to develop maximum sweetness on the vine – then usually stops the wine from fermenting fully leaving quite a bit of residual sugar – Best example to me is Moscato and Elio Perrone makes one called ‘Sourgal’ Moscato d’Asti that I think is like sipping a Low Country summer evening, all slow and peachy with scents of jasmine in your nose.

Adding and alcohol – think sherry, port, Madeira or Marsala – My newest favorite is an offering from Merryvale Vineyards, Antigua Muscat; its nutty goodness and orange peel scents can warm you up on the coldest Lowcountry day.

Remove the water – by removing water from grapes the sugar is concentrated; there are several ways to remove the water – the grapes can be dried in the sun like raisins (Vin Santo ex); freeze the grapes then press into wine (Ice-wine); or Noble Rot. That is when the grapes are allowed to contract a fungus that dries them out. Yes this last one sounds repulsive but if you are lucky enough to sip a Chateau Yaquem you will never look at rot the same way. My newest favorite Noble rot wine is Macalun Turcolato from Italy. This wine is sweet but not over poweringly so and paired with a little blue cheese it is a perfect way to end a meal or the day.

Just remember these little drops of honey can pack quite an alcohol punch so sip and savor.

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