Sugar is a bit on the nose these days. In my cellar, and those of many other wine lovers, sweet wines lie around, waiting for an opportunity to burst forth and sweeten our lives.
The festive season is one of those rare times of the year when there are plenty of opportunities to crack open sweet wines. Every meal climaxes with a sweet dessert. Cheeses abound. Even coffee, cigars and a card game seems an occasion that demands a glass of something rich and sweet.
French Sauternes, botrytis rieslings and semillons with their honey, toffee and barley-sugar aromas. Rutherglen muscats and topaques, with their hedonistic raisiny maltiness. All patiently await the liberation of Christmas.
Brown Brothers Patricia Noble Riesling 2014, King Valley $37 (375ml)
With a deep orange/amber colour and a sweetly honeyed and slightly malty bouquet, this is medium-sweet – not overly rich or unctuous. It retains its floral, citrus riesling identity, which bottle-age and botrytis have added to and made more complex. An intense wine freshened by bright acidity. Screw-cap, 9 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Drink now to five years.
Stockists include Dan Murphy's in Vic and NSW.
Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat NV, Rutherglen $25 (500ml)
Much younger than the $90 Old Premium but still showing great depth of flavour and lusciousness, this has a medium-deep red/tawny hue with yellow tints, and a hauntingly perfumed bouquet of rose petals, flowers and spicy muscat fruit. Very sweet, deep, lush flavour and freshness. Great quality – and affordable! Screw-cap, 17.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Ready to drink now. Cellaring won't improve it.
Stockists include First Choice, Dan Murphy's, BWS and other fine wine retailers nationally.
Gonzalez Byass Nectar PX Pedro Ximenez, Spain $40 (750ml)
This is part of the base range for Gonzalez Byass, a great sherry house, and is a relatively young, eight-year-old blend. With a deep amber colour and oily consistency in the glass, it offers a rich raisin aroma and is very rich and very sweet, luscious and unctuous. A decadently delicious super-sweetie. Cork, 17 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Ready to drink. Cellaring won't improve it.
Food Creme brulee with bourbon and vanilla-laced cherries.
Stockists include Petersham Liquor (NSW); Boccaccio Cellars (Vic).