IF music soothes the savage breast, then why not drink what soothed the composers?
Let’s start with Tokaj (pr. tow-kay). This was once a wine sought after by all wine lovers, and afforded only by royalty. A favourite of Beethoven, Schubert and Rossini (who was richer than royalty) Tokaj fell into disrepute under the communists (What didn’t? The Lada?) but has come roaring back, as returning refugees pour money into the vineyards.
Tokaj is ranked by ‘puttonyos’, which I think translates as ‘crowns’; wines are awarded between 3 and 6 puttonyos, depending on their residual sugar, rather like the German classification system. 6 puttonyo wines are incredibly sweet. The one pictured above is a very drinkable 3 puttonyo wine.
If this sounds too esoteric for you how about a Sauternes? Everybody knows Chateau d’Yquem, and not many of us can afford it. But rather like Rolls Royce, there an awful lot of great sauternes out there that cost about a fifth what Yquem.
A fabulous dessert wine, Chateau d’Armajan des Ormes pictured above is also just great with food. The traditional accompaniment is pate de foie gras. I don’t usually have foie gras on hand, but I almost always have liverwurst in my fridge. Liverwurst on rye with cream cheese and a glass of Des Ormes is one heckuva a lunch!
Finally, a wine you’re unlikely to think of: a Late Harvest from Chile. Torreon de Paredes is a fine winery and they have listed their dessert wine here. This is a tremendous deal! If you’re on a budget (who isn’t? The Dow’s back below 10K and headed for the basement…) this is great wine at an unbelievable price.
I like Canadian dessert wines, but they’re expensive, pegged as they are to the price of Icewine. The above are great wines worth exploring if you like dessert, and they’ll save you a buck or two.