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Apr 28, 2007 02:43 PM

Is there a wine pairing for this dessert?

I'm making a vanilla panna cotta with basil syrup and fresh passion fruit. At a loss about what to serve with it. A white? A dessert wine? I have some late harvest riesling, chardonnay musque, Moscato d'Asti and a bottle of Prosecco. Would any of these work or I can make a trip to the store. If it matters... we are having a NZ sauvignon blanc with the main course. Much thanks.

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  1. A good grappa. Like one of the fancy Nonino Ùe series.

    1. I'd give the the late-harvest riesling a go. The Chardonnay Musque is probably made in a dry style and so isn't sweet enough (the wine will taste sour in comparison to the dessert). Bubblies seem to fight the smooth, sensual texture of panna cotta or creme brulee. If you wanted to purchase something, I'd choose a well-priced Sauternes or the 2005 Navarro Muscat Blanc (sweet, with a slight herbaceousness that might play well with the basil), tasted yesterday.

      1. If this was predominantly vanilla panna cotta, I'd look at a PX Sherry...

        But given the passion fruit and basil notes I'd lean more towards a late harvest riesling for the best overall accompaniment to vanilla, tart fruit, and the herbal basil notes. Sauternes would be second choice. A sweet vouvray would be an interesting third choice, especially if the passion fruit is very pronounced in the dish.

        1. You could try vin santo. If you serve biscotti, too, you've got great textural contrast as well as well as a good match.

          This could be a flop, but you might also consider a Belgian Framboise, the one made like beer, but that drinks like dessert wine. It probably too "big" for a panna cotta, but it's another idea (and raspberry with basil is a nice combination). Perhaps serve it afterward as a palate cleanser (with no dessert wine -- just dessert) or a digestive?

          1. Mmm. I always enjoy seeing friends' faces when they first encounter this dessert. The progression is invariable: scepticism > surprise > disbelief > delight. Such an unexpected combination of flavours yet one that makes perfect sense, as though it is meant to be. I've often had the dessert at Brunoise (where I believe it was invented) and have made it at home. Cannot recall the restaurant ever suggesting a wine pairing, which doesn't surprise me as the dessert is complete unto itself. Will ask the staff and report back.

            Of the options you list, the Riesling is your best bet. Though I probably wouldn't go the Sauternes route, if I did I'd choose one that was more *moelleux* than *liquoreux* and would avoid wines made from heavily botrytized grapes; such wines are often found in the appellations around Sauternes, such as Loupiac, Cadillac and St-Croix du Mont. Even better would be Pieropan's Passito della Roccha, a fresh, sweet blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Garganega grapes with tropical fruit and herbaceous overtones. Closer to home, I suspect a Vidal ice wine might make a stunning match.

            Where'd you get the recipe, btw? If it's the Brunoise one found in the comic book cum cookbook *L'appareil*, I'd suggest checking other panna cotta recipes for gelatin content -- the *L'appareil* version, which calls for gelatin sheets, is far too firm when made with the German sheets commonly available in retail stores.

            2 Replies
            1. re: carswell

              The Pieropan Passito della Roccha sounds very interesting.

              The PX Sherry, with its massive molasses and balsamic flavors, will kill the subtlety
              of the panna cotta flavors. Vin Santo may be a little too forceful too.

              1. re: carswell

                Yes, had this dessert at Brunoise. Was happy to find reference to it on CH. Used my creamiest panna cotta recipe and what I think was your instruction for the basil syrup. That stuff is drinkable btw! Ever make cocktails with it? We were trying to think of drink recipes for it.

                Opened a 2001 Malivoire Riesling Icewine. It was a fabulous match. Had lots of tropical fruit and a bit of herbaceousness, just the right amount of sweetness. Thanks to everyone for the great suggestion.