If you follow me on social media, you already know how I feel about Port, but my appreciation for after-dinner dessert wines and digestifs goes a lot further. In an attempt to explore some of the most popular with the less popular after-dinner options up against one another, The Vino Enthusiasts Wine Club hosted an evening entirely dedicated to this theme.
The food pairings included a dark chocolate fondue and a wide assortment of cheese. Not featured in the above image, the club also paired the wines with a Tiger Blue Cheese among several other incredible, fine cheeses presented by Ouderkirk & Taylor in Guelph, ON.
The evening began with a simple Pomme de Coeur Cider to wet the palate.
The first wine tasted was the 2012 Chateau des Arroucats Sainte-Croix-Du-Mont. This wine was chosen as a replacement for Sauternes. Sauternes is the classic dessert wine of Bordeaux typically made from Semillon blended with Sauvignon Blanc. Sauternes is always Botrytis affected (Noble Rot), which contributes to its sweetness.
Noble Rot is a gray mold that winemakers deliberately cultivate on grapes in order to extract water, concentrate the flavour compounds and foster the rich, sweet nature of the wine. This wine was chosen as a replacement for Sauternes.
The group really enjoyed the honeyed characteristics of this wine along with the well-balanced complexity, flavour profile, sweetness and acidity. A great value wine if you're looking for something as rich and beautiful as a Sauternes with a more affordale price tag.
The 2008 Tokaji Aszú was the showstopper of the evening. This dessert wine is made from Furmint in Hungary and produced with a similar Botrytised method. 5 Puttonyos indicates the sweetness level. This wine had similar honeyed characteristics with added layers of acidity, cooked apricot, a chamomile florality and a very pleasant ginger spice on the lingering finish.
The Flat Rock Cellars 2006 Sweet Revenge was a real treat for the group because of its age and syrupy palate. Although screw cap closed, this wine was rich, succulent and mature with notes of chocolate-orange and baking spice. This wine has won a lot of much deserved awards and absolutely held up to and exceeded its expecations.
The 2009 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottle Vintage Port was a great way to conclude the selection of sweet wines. Port is a fortified wine with a rich palate. The older the port, the more maturity, nuttiness and tawny-characteristics of the wine. This wine is a consistent, simple, entry level LBV that paired phenomenally with the Tiger Blue cheese.
The group decided to taste a dry Sherry, but due to the overwhelmed sweet palates, the tasting was not as successful. The Williams and Humbert Dry Sack Sherry had a nutty palate with dominant characteristics of almond and toasted walnut and an extra-dry finish.
We got to conclude the evening on an extremely high note. This 25-year Delord Armagnac was absolutely delicious. Caramel and honey on the nose with a very smooth palate of caramelized, chocolate almonds and orange zest. The palate was complex and satisfying with an extrememly long, warm finish. If you haven't had Armagnac, you should.