Do you have an impromptu dinner party? Maybe you put the wrong date on your calendar? Or you could be like me, and you simply forgot the grocery list at home only to get back to your house and realize that you forgot the main ingredient for the dessert you were planning on making for your dinner party! Well, it happens to all of us from time to time and for some of us (me), a little more often than I would like.
My solution: keep it simple and add a glass of wine!
By adding a glass of dessert wine to the combinations listed below, a simple dessert can be elevated for a formal dinner finale or a “serve yourself” favorite. It all depends on the presentation.
Obviously, it’s full blown summertime here in Florida, but our climate stays relatively warm most of the year. So nothing works better with dessert wine than fresh berries and cream for those warm nights. Whatever fruit is in season is the best choice. Right now my fridge is full of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries… yum! All you do is wash, cut and assemble the mixed berries into a bowl, sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and let them rest covered in the fridge. While the berries are “marinating” decide what to do with the cream.
You can go easy – and I mean easy – and just top the berries with whipped cream from a can. But if you feel like torturing yourself like you’re on an episode of Chopped, make a crème anglaise. Me? I prefer to start with heavy whipping cream and do the leg work myself. Whatever you decide will be delicious, and even if it isn’t, heck, the dessert wines will be! My suggested favorites are:
2009 Chateau D’Arrocats, Saint-Croix-du-Mont, France – This is a Botrysised wine made of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from an area that is a satellite of Sauterne. The texture is decadently smooth and flavors reminiscent of Crème Brulee. This wine is a great way to explore the Sauterne style without the heavy price tag at $19.99 a bottle… it’s a bargain!
2007 La Tancia “Vin Santo”, Chianti, Italy – Vin Santo is a wine that is very similar in flavor and style to a type of Madeira called Malmsey. This is a medium-bodied wine with a very distinct nutty characteristic that has a touch of raisin. The nuttiness is balanced by nuances of honey and cream. If you know anyone who is a lover of fine sherry or a nut-based digestif like Frangelico or Nocello this Vin Santo is a show stopper. $24.99
Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite of them all….
2009 Quinta Nova Late Bottle Vintage, Covas do Douro, Portugal – This LBV has a classic flavor profile of dark plum, raspberry and dark chocolate flavors that are fresh, well-integrated and accented by supple notes of Asian spice and sandalwood. White pepper and mineral details appear on the pure and balanced persistent finish. Drink now through 2025. 300 cases made. Wine Spectator, 91 points
Conclusion: Skip the berries and pour dessert…
Heather Burton, ABC Fine Wine & Spirit wine and spirits supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwineHeatherB