deVine Thoughts

January 30, 2014

Fortifies & Stickies

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 7:52 pm

hetszoloAuthor: Dirk Chan

Dessert wines, sometimes called pudding wines and ‘stickies’ by wine afficionados, are sweet wines typically served with the dessert course at the end of a meal. The category is fairly loosely defined – in the UK, a dessert wine is considered to be any sweet wine drunk with a meal, as opposed to the white fortified wines (fino and amontillado sherry) usually drunk before the meal, and the red fortified wines (port and madeira) drunk after dinner. In the United States, by contrast, a dessert wine is legally defined as any wine over 14% alcohol by volume, which includes all fortified wines. Thus, most fortified wines are regarded as distinct from dessert wines, but some of the less strong fortified white wines, such as Pedro Ximénez sherry and the French Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, are regarded as honorary dessert wines.

Most dessert wines are made either by Noble Rot – a grey fungus, Botrytis cinerea, that proliferates in moist conditions that concentrates the juices in the grapes. If the weather stays wet, it develops into “grey rot,” can destroy crops. Grapes typically become infected with Botrytis when they are ripe. If they are then exposed to drier conditions and become partially raisined which is a good thing when picked at a certain point during infestation can produce particularly fine and concentrated sweet wine. The most famous wine of this method is the French Sauterne.

The other method is the “Ice Wine” method, where the grapes freeze on the vine to concentrate the juices. Canadian Icewine regulation decree the grapes can only be picked only when the temperature reaches -8C. The German version is called Eiswein.

Another category of after dinner drinks is the Fortified winesSherry from Spain and Ports from Portugal. Sherry is made from white grapes grown near the town of Jerez in Andalusia, Spain mainly from the Palomino grape, After fermentation is complete, the base wines are fortified with grape spirit in order to increase their final alcohol content. Port, made in the Douro Valley, made from indigenous grapes and are very long aging.

Other countries have their fair share of dessert wines – Vin Santo and a sparkling version called Moscato d’Asti from Italy, Tokaji from Hungary, amongst many other types.

Please join us on Thursday, February 13th, as we sample all kinds of sweet dessert wines. We’ll talk about their wine-making process and styles and grapes, and specific food pairings. It is a night for those with a sweet tooth. Bring your Valentine with you!

You can register for the Fortifies & Stickies tasting here..

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