Monday, January 04, 2016

Dessert Wine Tasting - BBC Good Food Show

I came home with quite a stash from the BBC Good Food Show, including wondrous organic acorn-fed Ibérico chorizo by Hacienda Zorita, and Bad Mama chilli sauce from Chad that's so badass it's hotter than my Trinidad-style scotch bonnet one, and is really delicious as well as being hotter than a naga in lava. I chose the one with green chilli, garlic and coriander and the pot is now on the table at every meal (along with my Trinny one of course). I wouldn't have gone for the coriander on paper but had a taster of all three and loved the green one most - the coriander is very mild.

I also got a fantastic Hausa/ Fulani peanut cooking sauce - Balangwu Suya Paste by Naija - that worked a tasty treat with some fried onions, a bit of tomato purée and browned steak chunks topped up with water. It was perfect after a 10 minute simmer.

Delectable chorizo from Hacienda Zorita

The best thing I took away, though, was the experience of a dessert wine tasting with specialists Cressis Wine. A family business with their own vineyard in Italy, they import a range of small producer handcrafted wines from all over the world, but their selection of sweet wines is unique.

Now I don't possess even a fraction of a sweet tooth, but sampling Cressis' dessert wines reawakened my love for them. When living in France I used to savour a glass of Montbazillac with a slice of creamy, salty Roquefort cheese. Somehow (Tax on wine? Living with a cheese-hater? Lack of readily available choice? Most Brits not appreciating it?), being in the UK I had forgotten to occasionally mix things up with a special dessert wine.

Cressis' dessert wines at the tasting

The German von Wendland family who own Cressis Wine, has intricate knowledge of the mind-boggling varieties of German and Austrian sweet wines, that are classified according to production method (e.g. ice wine, nobel rot, fortification etc) and sugar levels, all with long, memory-defying names like Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese. It was good to experience in my mouth what I'd learned but failed to retain from the WSET course. I tasted wines starting with young and semi-sweet, up to intensely sweet, syrupy, immensely complex and bloody wonderful - the last being the Rosenhoff Chardonnay Trockenbeerenauslese 2010 (£25.99) . It has juicy acidity to balance the syrupy sweetness, with a rainbow of developing flavours including caramelised apple, white peach and orange chocolate. You have to taste it to believe it.

Whether you generally like sweet things or not, I'd urge anyone to experience a dessert wine tasting.

Happy 2016! x