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Friday, January 1, 2016

Have a Sweet 16 New Year

        Wine-Knows will visit Chateau Yquem, one of the world's greatest sweet wines, 
on the Bordeaux tour in September 2016 

Sweet wines are not just for dessert.  I was reminded on Christmas Eve how versatile a sweet wine can be.  I paired a 20 year old Grand Cru Alsatian Gewurztraminer with a salad of Stilton cheese.  Salads are one of the most difficult foods to work with wine because of the acid in their vinaigrette.  Further complicating matters was the strong blue cheese, but it all worked beautifully.  Here are some guiding principles for pairing sweet wines in 2016 with courses other than desserts. 

Salt loves sweet.  Sweet wines can be a great match for certain cheeses. Salty cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Feta, Manchego, or a blue such as Stilton pair well with a late harvest wine, Port, Sherry, or Sauternes.

Spicy begs for sweet.  Spicy foods are a match made in heaven for slightly sweet wine such as a Moscato or a German Riesling.  The cool temperature, as well as the sweetness of the wine, helps mitigate the effect of the capsicum heat of the food.

High alcohol pairs with high fat.   Sweet wines have higher alcohol levels than table wines.  That’s why a Sauternes or Tokaj is often served with foie gras, even as an appetizer.  (That’s also why highly marbled beef works best with a high alcohol red such as a Zinfandel.) The principle is the same.  Rich with rich.  Heaven with heaven.

Wishing you a sweet 2016.

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