STICKIES & SWEETS

By Rose Murray Brown   Published in The Scotsman 31 Dec 2016

 

TOP DESSERT & FORTIFIED FESTIVE TIPPLES


£12 & under

DRY FORTIFIED:   HIDALGO MANZANILLA PASADA PASTRANA
(£10.50 The Wine Society, £10.99 / £12.99 Majestic Wine; £12.99 Waitrose)
Alcohol: 15% 
Origin: Sanlucar de Barrameda. Spain

Nutty elegant Manzanilla with a whiff of sea salt from the Pastrana vineyard in the Miraflores region.  Pasada means it is an aged Manzanilla, which has been matured in barrel for seven years when the flor yeast veil fades leaving a deeper colour and much nuttier taste.  Serve as an aperitif or with nuts and cheese.

 

SWEET DESSERT:  COTEAUX DU LAYON 1ER CRU CHAUME 2011 Domaine des Forges  ***STAR BUY***
(£8.99 hf bt Waitrose www.waitrose.com)
Alcohol: 12%
Origin: Loire, France

With Chenin Blanc’s propensity to sweetness and natural acidity, the grape makes superb creamy ‘moelleux’ style with honeyed sweet notes, baked apple and pear undertones and a vibrant freshness.  Top Loire sweet winemakers Claude and Stephane Branchereau of Domaine des Forges use a subtle amount of oak for maturation, but you can barely detect it.  Voted best value dessert wine by our tasters.  Serve with tarte tatin or mild blue cheese.


                
SWEET DESSERT:  PACHERENC DU VIC BILH 2011
(£7.99 for 50 cl bt Lidl)
Alcohol: 13%
Origin: South West France

This revived C18 wine style is an unusual wine to find in Lidl from a little known appellation in south west France.  Made from late picked Petit Manseng grapes harvested over several passages to ensure all grapes are picked well ripened.  Light apricot notes with a bright citric acidity – serve with fruit salad.

 

SWEET FORTIFIED:  HARVEY’S SIGNATURE 12 YEAR OLD SHERRY  ***STAR BUY***
(£9.99 reduced from £11.99 for 50 cl bt Waitrose www.waitrose.com)         
Alcohol: 19%
Origin: Jerez, Spain

I usually do not like cream sherry, but this is an aged version which is beautifully made – and proved very popular with tasters.  Dark apricot notes, a hint of cinnamon and nutty undertones.  It is sweet, but not at all sickly like some creams.  Would match well with Barwheys or Isle of Mull Cheddars.

 

£20 & under

SWEET DESSERT:  PILLITTERI VIDAL ICE WINE 2015
(£14.99 hf bt Lidl)
Alcohol: 11%
Origin: Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada

This might seem a steep price for a Lidl wine, but it is the cheapest ice wine on the market – Aldi also sell one at £24.99 which is pretty decent, but not such good value as Lidl’s.  Made from very late harvested grapes, picked in Canada’s freezing winter temperatures, it produces a very sweet intense dessert wine – but this one is relatively fresh and grapefruity.

 

SWEET DESSERT:  SEIFRIED SWEET AGNES RIESLING 2013  ***STAR BUY***
(£16.99 hf bt Waitrose)
Alcohol: 10.5%
Origin: Nelson, New Zealand

Always a winner at our New Zealand tastings – this zesty late harvest Riesling is made by Austrian-born Hermann Seifried at his Nelson winery, based in a former hop growing area in the north of South Island.  He specialises in aromatic whites, particularly Riesling and Gewurztraminer, producing some of New Zealand’s best to date.  Delicious with Boxing day trifle or fruit salad.

 

SWEET DESSERT:  CULLEN’S LATE HARVEST SEMILLON 2013
(£16 Fine Wine Company, Musselburgh; Luvians, Fife; www.eclectictastes.co.uk)
Alcohol: 12.5%                        
Origin: Margaret River, Western Australia

A charming honeyed dessert wine made by the Cullen family at Wilyabrup.  Fruit comes from the Mangan vineyard, where one hectare of Semillon is cane-cut to ripen fruit and harvested two months after the fruit for dry wine.  Beautifully fresh with maramalade, fig and papaya notes.  Serve with mincepies.

 

SWEET FORTIFIED: QUINTA DO NOVAL 10 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT
(£19.99 reduced from £24.99 for 75 cl bt at Waitrose & at Oddbins)
Alcohol: 19.5%                                                  
Origin: Douro Valley, Portugal

A blend of old cask matured ports with an average age of 10 years, with some older wines too.   Like many ports, made from a blend of Portuguese grapes including Tinta Roriz and Touriga Francesa.  Rich, intense, cinnamon flavours, nutty undertones, multi-layered with a deliciously smooth fruity finish – ideal for serving with mince pies or fruitcake   

 

SWEET FORTIFIED:  QUINTA DO NOVAL UNFILTERED LBV 2009
(£19 reduced from £24 for 75 cl bt Oddbins)
Alcohol: 20%         
Origin: Douro Valley, Portugal

Quinta do Noval’s ‘baby’ vintage port has more complexity and structure than many other LBVs.  Noval use traditionally foot-trodden Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz grapes and bottle the port unfiltered, so will need decanting from its sediment.  Damson aromas, dense sweet fruits with an elegant long finish.  2009 was a very good vintage, so snap it up whilst stocks last.  Serve with blue cheese, cheddar or dark chocolate dessert.

 

Under £30
                                            
SWEET DESSERT:  TOKAJI ASZU 5 PUTTONYOS 2007 Disznoko  ***STAR BUY***
(£26.99 for 50 cl bt Waitrose; Lea & Sandeman; Ocado)
Alcohol: 12.5%
Origin: Tokay, NE Hungary
                                              
My family’s favourite for Christmas pudding – it also works well creamy blue cheese or apple dessert.  Aszu is made from late harvested nobly rotted berries picked individually, pasted and added to a base wine or must, followed by long maturation in cask and cellar in Tokay.  A delectable sweet wine with a runny caramel, orange marmalade flavour alongside vibrant freshness.  Made by Disznoko winery, owned by Axa Insurance, who focus on a modern fresh style of this historic sweet wine.

 

SWEET FORTIFIED:  KOPKE COLHEITA 1996 
(£30 for 75cl bt Marks & Spencer)
Alcohol: 20%
Origin: Douro Valley, Portugal

If you like your port voluptuously smooth, nutty and honeyed, this superb single vintage tawny port might well suit.  It hails from little known Kopke, the world’s oldest port house (established in 1638 by Christiano Kopke who came to Portugal as representative of the Hanseatic League).  Serve with blue cheese, nuts and figs.

                                     

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