One of the things that often makes a dessert wine stand out from table wines is the sweet factor. The grapes used to make dessert wines are picked late in the season – this makes the fruit (and wine) extra sweet.
Here is a round-up of some interesting dessert wine options. The taste and manufacturing processes are all as unique as each couple of newlyweds.
If you’re serving up some chocolaty goodies at your wedding, Simon Gaudreault-Rouleau, product expert at the Québec Alcohol Corporation, recommended offering guests a port wine.
Only port originating from Portugal can be labeled “Port.” Although the recipe is used around the world, if it didn’t come from Portugal, this type of wine could only be marketed as “port-like.”
With port, Gaudreault-Rouleau said guests can expect full, rich bodies and spicy aromas.
Hailing from the Sauternais region of Bordeaux, France, Sauterne is perhaps the most renowned type of dessert wine.
What makes wine produced in this region so special is its dependence on a fungus called “noble rot.” The unique properties of noble rot cause a super concentration of sugars and flavours, which produce a wine that is incomparably délicieux.
According to Gaudreault-Rouleau, ice wine contains twice the sugar of Sauterne. “The concept is to let the grapes freeze on the vine so the flavours and sugar levels are concentrated,” he explained.
The majority of Canada’s ice wine comes from Ontario (75%) but it’s also produced in Quebec and British Columbia.
Who says you need grapes to make wine? Crafted to be sweeter than the dessert itself, a fruit wine could be the perfect after-dinner delight. The Fort Wine Co., based in Langley British Columbia, makes a variety of interesting wines that are 100% grape-free. Their Isle Queen wild blackberries wine is the perfect accompaniment to an after-dinner cheese plate, and their Blueberry Sweet Nothings pairs nicely with cobblers and pastries.
Ted Bowman, the company’s representative, said couples might want to use fruit wine as a base for sangria and punch. “Although dessert wines are intended for after dinner, these fruit wines have a depth of sweetness to them,” he said. “If you’re brave enough to put an ice cube in your wine, perhaps you’re brave enough to try some of the things that can be achieved with fruit wine.”
Gaudreault-Rouleau suggested ice cider (sometimes sold as ice apple wine or apple ice wine) as a unique and less-expensive dessert wine option. As ice wine is made with frozen grapes, ice cider is made with frozen apples.
Ice cider is primarily made in Quebec, but some brands like Domaine Pinnacle can be found coast to coast in Canada.
Charles Crawford, President of Domaine Pinnacle, said his ice cider complements fruit-based cakes and pies exceptionally well. “It is also a popular match with chocolate cake, angel cake, Black Forest cake, and cheesecake.”