Sweet Wine with Dinner

September 13 2010 - 10:12 AM

I have a backlog of sweet wines that have been sitting in the refrigerator for years.  Some are cloying and may be better for making wine ice cream, but others are not so thick and could be paired with dinner.   I've successfully served a chicken or fish dinner in the past with a German Auslese, a late harvest classification based on the must weight, or the weight of sugar in the grapes.  Nevertheless, I'm getting really sick of looking at my backlog of sweet wines, best suited for larger dinner parties, of which we have had to temporarily eliminate due to economic cutbacks.   Hence, we have roughly ten bottles of sweet wine in our home, many of which take up precious space in our refrigerator.

I read an article in a British wine publication and felt inspired to dispense with some of the sweet wine bottles other than waiting for the next dinner party.  I decided to try a 2006 St. Supery Moscato from Napa Valley, with peach and apricot flavors as well as canned pears.  It would have gone well with fish, but not when I discovered the macadanian nut crusted cod had coconuts in it..oops!  Sweet does not pair well with sweet, at least for dinner.  If the elements within the pairings are dry, I believe there would be synergy.

I've known a number of people who are averse to white wines precisely due to the misperception of sweetness.  Mention Riesling, and it turns them off even more.  For most, though, a bottle of Austrian Riesling or many Alsatian brands can make them change their mind.    It's a bit tougher with sweet wine:  maybe a Sauternes or a Tokaji will make people turn the corner.  Get them to drink it with food, and well, that's a different story.  Perhaps a good German Auslese will convince them.

–Brian Ziegler