For me some of the most underrated and under-appreciated wines are the ones designed to be drunk after the main event, the wines that are perfect with dessert, cheese and deep conversation. Often we skip over these wines on wine lists or don’t even bother to indulge in them and they are so worth exploring and their is so much joy to be had in indulging in them, there is also a lot of versatility in these wines and they are the perfect way to end a meal and accompany some of your favourite sweets and cheeses. Heres a few of my fave after dinner wines that will have a your friends talking and sipping till the very last drop.
One of my all time favourite sneaky indulgences, Pedro Ximenez ( PX for short ) is a gorgeously luscious, sweet and delicious sherry that is the perfect accompaniment for all things chocolate, I always serve one by the glass in the restaurants I write lists for. Pedro Ximenez has a wonderful honey like viscosity and packs a punch with flavours of Treacle toffee, coffee, cocoa and gingerbread spice. Pair with Chocolate Tart, Chocolate Fondante or for a naughty mid week treat pour a little over some vanilla ice-cream. Traditionally they come from Jerez in Spain but there are some Australian producers making some lovely drops.
Formally known as Tokay, Topaque made from Muscadelle is a real Aussie treasure and the best examples hail from Rutherglen in Victoria, A good way to look at Topaque is as the little brother of Rutherglen Muscat. It has a beautiful fine palate of golden sultanas, candied fig and apple, beeswax and honey. Its perfectly paired with sticky date pudding, also gorgeous with after dinner choccies and a good espresso
Banyuls is a nice way to move from red wine into sweet territory as it is a sweet fortified red wine made predominately from Grenache and Carignan hailing from the South Eastern corner of southern france, wicked with hard cheese and if your feeling adventurous pour a glass with your Christmas pudding. Its one of those great wines that pairs beautifully with chocolate desserts which can be tricky to pair wine with.
– M. Chapoutier Banyuls, Banyuls, France $24.99 from Dan Murphys
Icewine is a stunning dessert wine created from frozen grapes … hence its name. You can make icewine artificially by freezing the juice of grapes but traditional icewine is made from grapes picked when temperatures are so cold the grapes freeze whilst still on the vine. The best examples come from Germany and Canada. These are wines that are gorgeously luscious and elegant, sometimes they can carry a hefty price tag but you must try one at least once in your life. Serve them with Apple tarte tatin, poached quince or citrus tarts and blue cheeses
– Frogmore creek iced Riesling, Coal River Valley, Tasmania $22.99 from www.frogmorecreek.com.au
– Inniskillin Ice Wine Oak Aged Vidal, Niagara Peninsula, Canada $56.99 from Dan Murphys
Botrytis Dessert Wines
Botrytis also known as the noble rot is a rot that shrivels the grapes and concetrates the sugars creating beautifully complex and rich styles of dessert wines full of gorgeous flavours of honey, marmalade and grapefruit,some of the worlds finest sweet wines are botrytis dessert wines. These tend to be richer in style and are a great option with crème brulees, poached fruits and custards.
– Heggies Botrytis Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia $28.95 from www.heggiesvineyard.com
– Glenguin Estate The Sticky Botrytised Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales $25.00 from www.glenguinestate.com.au