You Don't Need Dessert to Enjoy a Dessert Wine

August 10, 2012

The lion's share of attention in the world of wine is dedicated to red wine, but I want to wave the flag for some unheralded dessert wine. And just like you don't need a burger or a steak to enjoy a glass of red wine, you shouldn't feel compelled to whip up a dessert if you want a taste of a sweet wine. Let's explore the incredible diversity of dessert wine from all over the world!

dessert wine muscat de saint jean de minervoisLike this delightful dessert wine from Les Vignerons de la Méditerranée. From a sliver of a wine region known as Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois, right next to the Minervois region in the south of France, this sweet wine made from the Muscat* grape drinks like a nectar made from apricots, oranges, and honey. It's a wine I received as a sample from Sud de France eons ago, and happily dug out of the recesses of my fridge. Though (as the back label explains) "simply luscious," this Muscat has a lightness and freshness that makes it very nice to sip on its own in the evening or after a meal. Or while watching a lazy sunset.

If you are going to enjoy some dessert with this dessert wine, get whatever fresh fruit is in season. Apples, peaches, pears, and the aforementioned apricots would be ideal, but I wouldn't say no to some melons or berries. Or, heck, a fruit salad!

dessert wine muscat de saint jean de minervoisYou also might be surprised how well it matches with blue cheese. In this case, Bleu d'Auvergne. It's a cow's milk cheese from France, and is not shy about its blue-ness. Or, rather, bleu-ness. This sweet Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois makes a nice foil for a strong cheese; think of it as the dried or fresh fruit accompaniment you would serve with a powerhouse cheese. Except this accompaniment is liquid and boozy.

(*Ok, technically the grape is Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. It's the bee's knees when it comes to Muscat. And if you think I'm being a little corny here, renowned wine expert Jancis Robinson calls it "the real goody" of the Muscat family. So there.)

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