WINE: When you find you're in a stickies situation
SWEET wines, more commonly referred to as dessert wines or the even more friendly "stickies," come in various guises: "late harvest" styles where grapes are left to gain as much natural sugar as possible before harvesting, and a "botrytis" style where the "noble rot'' fungus draws all the moisture from the grape, leaving behind sugars and acid.
The greatest sweet wines are balanced between those natural sugars and acidity providing longevity to develop complex flavours. Food matches are usually equally powerful dishes such as blue cheeses or rich desserts.
Longview Vineyards, Epitome, Late Harvest Riesling, 2016
Adelaide Hills, SA. Often "stickies" have lower alcohol by not being fortified with brandy or grape spirit to stop the ferment early to retain plenty of sugars. Floury apple slices, tropical fruit, peach fuzz, soft wax and spritzy lime sorbet citrus aromas. Serve with pavlova for a decadent afternoon tea.
Riversdale Estate, Botrytis Riesling, 2014
Coal River Valley, Tasmania. Awarded trophy for best sweet wine at the 2017 Tasmanian Wine Show. Burnt lime, apricot kernel and sweaty rocket-arugula leaves. Well-balanced palate: the sweet lime and stonefruit provide a wrapping over the acidity that finishes with a pinpoint linear direction. A match for lighter fruit sorbet-based desserts.
De Bortoli, Black Noble, Botrytis Semillon, NV
Riverina, NSW. A small parcel from the production of the iconic Noble One is fortified with brandy spirit then barrel aged for an average of 10 years. Complex aromas: raisins, espresso coffee, Christmas pudding spice, nutty rancio (a combination of walnut and butter) and dried mix fruit. It retains semillon's juicy acidity and lightness but bulked up with charred treacle and bittersweet coffee liqueur from barrel aging. Serve with pecan pie or squares of quality dark chocolate.
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