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Dessert Wines

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Do you like dessert wines? Quady Winery in Madera produces some excellent dessert varities. Essensia is especially good mixed with sparkling water to cut the sweetness. (Oh no, did I just admit to drinking a wine spritzer??)

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  1. Do you then drink it out of a straw with a lime twist? Just kidding...:-). Hubby and I occasionally have dessert wines, but drink the "real" stuff more often. Thanks for the tip, I will keep it in mind.

    3 Replies
    1. re: glazebrookgirl

      Hello, would you be kind enough to further explain what you mean exactly by "the real stuff". Thanks

      1. re: Chinon00

        I meant no disrespect to dessert wines and put "real" in quotation marks to show that I used that word for lack of a better description. Obviously there are stellar dessert wines, but I think that I and others probably spend more time drinking and reading about other types of wine.

        1. re: glazebrookgirl

          A better description for me rather than "real" wine would be "dry" wine. The presence of sugar doesn't necessarily demote a wine to some lower or less serious status. Basically it comes down to the proper pairing of food with the wine. Obviously, the finest dry wine simply does not pair well with fruit tarts, mousses or pies.
          Often wine drinker have this idea that they must "graduate" from sweeter wine to dry white wine and from dry white wine to dry red wine. But "serious" wine can come in all colors and levels of dryness.
          Sorry but this is more of a pet peeve of mine and not really a direct response to you.

    2. I've kept the Essencia on hand for years as a substitute for Port, served well chilled of course. It's Orange Muscat, iirc, great nose and flavor. I've tried their dark Elysium but found it too sweet and wasn't that fond of the berry taste for some reason.

      4 Replies
      1. re: PolarBear

        OK, I'm not sure where the "kidding" ewnds and the real cricticsm begins....Quady make som awsome sessert wines!
        The port is world class and so is the Starboard, Essentia, et al
        I've traveled all over the world and found Quady wines in the most unexpected places----always with class.

        1. re: FAT Traveler

          Not being critical really, just my personal prefs don't include the Elysium, have yet to pour the Essencia for anyone that didn't rave about it. Have wanted to try the Starboard for some time but have yet to get around to it, we don't drink port that often and when we do pick up a bottle, if it's local it always turns out to be Ficklin, force of habit I guess.

          1. re: PolarBear

            I don't think there was any real criticism involved, just some teasing of sillyrabbit for saying she likes wine spritzers. No one was bashing Quady (seems like wine people are a serious bunch around here). If it helps, sillyrabbit, PolarBear and I all post on the CA board, so we know we can tease each other a bit.

            1. re: glazebrookgirl

              And, of course, no criticism or offense was taken. :0) I like my wine like I enjoy my Kool-Aid: sweet and fruity.

              As much as I love food, I am not a wine drinker. When I do drink it, I think Quady makes good stuff in pretty bottles. Pretty counts! I wish I liked wine, especially red wine, because it has so many health benefits and is such a cool hobby. But I don't, and I'm fine with that.

              Gave me a sweet tropical drink anytime, especially one from Minnie's in Modesto!

      2. Ok get some already fizzy dessert wine--Brachetto! I LOVE it. Berry flavor, beautiful purple color, lots of tiny foamy fizz, looks great in a flute. But a tinge of tangy bitterness in the finish so it doesnt cloy, and it's nowhere near as sweet as Essencia. The best value I have found is Convento dei Cappuccini Brachetto d'Aqui only $10 at PJWines, NYC.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kenito799

          Thank you! I'll try it. It sounds delicious.

        2. For several years famed San Francisco restaurant Gary Danko has had a recipe for seared Foie Gras that uses Essensia on its website. I have made it several times. It is amazing, well worth the expense and the work.
          http://www.garydanko.com/site/tutoria...

          Also, Quady's vermouths are probably the most universally respected of their wines- I have seen both the dry and the sweet at nice establishments on both coasts. Opposed to most vermouths on the market which are made with bad wine with little attention to detail, Quady takes much pride in its vermouths. The downside is you pay the price compared to cheap vermouths. I think I have paid $17 for the 750ml bottles. Sillyrabbit, these vermouths make great sprizers and appertifs.

          2 Replies
          1. re: T.bone

            I don't think most vermouths are made with bad wine or little attention to detail.

            Most *domestic* (USA) vermouths, maybe so. Quady's are fine but to me not worth the extra money over French or Italian.

            1. re: T.bone

              Wow, I'm impressed! I knew Essencia was good stuff, but I didn't know it was THAT good. Thanks!

              I will try Quady vermouths. I like buying from local wineries, so it's worth the extra money. Better quality is worth the extra expense, anyway.

            2. I love dessert wines:

              sauternes with foie gras; or even Quarts des Chaumes (sorry about spellings in this thread!)

              From Austrailia: Yalumba Museum Muscat.

              Dipping biscotti into a vin santo

              Banyuls with a dark chocolate dessert.

              And one of the best pairings I know of, introduced to me by Joe Bastianich several years ago at Babbo - Maculan Torcalato with a wedge of salty parmagiano reggiano.

              3 Replies
              1. re: chow_gal

                Thanks for the ideas. You've listed all my favorite edible sins in one post: cheese, chocolate, and alcohol.

                1. re: chow_gal

                  I saw this thread and was about to post an endorsement of the Yalumba Museum Muscat. We had that as part of a tasting menu, and I think that's the wine that really began my enjoyment of dessert wines. Generally, I like an older tawny port, but the Yalumba is great. In that same tasting menu, we also had a Viognier from Westerley Vineyards that was called "apres," which was served with the fruit-based dessert, and which we also liked very much.

                  1. re: chow_gal

                    Chow, it's Torcolato and Quarts de Chaume, otherwise, your spelling is fine...

                  2. I've used this dessert wine recipe to great effect:

                    http://www.thespicehouse.com/recipe/r...

                    Or I find just serving a great glass of chilled Ice Wine instead of dessert makes everyone smile.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: OliveBelle

                      I enjoy some ice wines. A unique ice wine, an apple ice wine, is made by Neige from Canada. It is only around $25 for a bottle.

                    2. Alsace is the source of some spectacular dessert wines. Zind-Humbrecht, in particular, is well known as a producer. These are made from late harvest Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. They come in two varieties... "vendage tardive" which translates to "late harvest"... and "selection de grains nobiles" where the grapes have botrytis cinerea/noble rot like a Sauterne. In the US, you see Zind-Humbrecht Vendage Tardive once in a while but SGN pretty much only appears in auctions of private collections. You can find it on http://www.wine-searcher.com

                      1. I'm a big fan of dessert wines, but for me the hallmark of a good one is that it is not too sweet, shows a balance of sugar, acid, etc. Some of the California ports cross into the too-sweet territory, IMHO. Orange muscats from California are all over the place (sugar-contentwise), but I've had some good ones from San Diego and Amador counties. Vin santos from Italy are often pleasing. And I agree with GeoffD about Alsace/Germany having some outstanding dessert wines, esp. late-harvest rieslings.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Mr. Cookie

                          I, myself , am a huge fan of Canadian Ice Wine, Moscato D'asti, Sauternes and Australian "Stickies"

                          From Canada, I like the Quail's Gate Riesling Icewine, and Calona Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir Icewine.

                          From Australia, I like the Yalumba Museum that others have mentioned, but really like the Old Cave Tawny and Vintage Port made by Chateau Reynella, as well as the Best's Fine Old Muscat, the Tawny and Muscat's made by Buller, and Trevor Jones' Shiraz Liqueur.

                          The Moscato D'asti from either La Spinetta or Banfi are very good.

                          As for Sauternes - If you can find Chateau Roumieu, it is usualy less than $20 for a 1/2 bottle. I also like Chateau Nairac, Doisy Daene, and of course, Rieussec, Guiraud and Suduirault.

                        2. A great source of good quality inexpensive dessert wines, not yet discussed, is Chile.

                          Carmen makes a Late Harvest Semillon and Errazuriz does Later Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. These are like Sauternes for the masses! Should be $10 or so for a 375ml bottle anywhere.

                          As for the Quady wines, I do not like them as they are sickly-sweet without enough alcohol to balance them out. Yuck!

                          1. Some of my favorites have already been mentioned: Yalumba Museum Muscat, Quady Essenscia (introduced to it as a side to a chocolate molten cake - yum!). I'm also an icewine fan. Last year, a friend took me to the Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach. We had the cheese tasting (if you're ever in the area, you have to try this!!!). At the end, I ordered a glass of Inniskillin icewine for each of us. It was on the specials list that night. To me, it was just like drinking liquid lemon sorbet. I loved it!