I’ve been trying to put together another article about one of my favorite dessert wines, but my day job has gotten in the way of that. I do want to publish something, so I’ve put together another sweet wine news roundup for you. I like this article format, so I might make it a regular occurrence on the site. It gives me a chance to research and to keep abreast of what’s going on in the sweet wine world.
Without further ado, here are the interesting articles I found this week;
- Leah Koenig discovers that Austria makes a lot more than just Gruner Veltliner. Like its neighbor, Germany, Austria makes some amazing sweet wines. Many of these wines are made in the province of Burgenland and are affected with noble rot. If you’re familiar with Germany’s sweet wines, Austria’s use of similar terminology should help guide your explorations.
- Sticking with the American sweet wine theme, you should also know that some of Virginia’s wineries are making good sweet wine. One Charlottesville restaurant and food blogger recently visited Barboursville Vineyards (great website!) and discovered they make a delicious and reasonably priced passito-styled dessert wine called the Maxlavio Passito. Passito-style wine making involves drying the grapes on straw mats as a way to concentrate their sugars and was probably invented in ancient Carthage. The most renowned (and expensive) style of passito dessert wine is Tuscany’s Vin Santo, while Amarone della Valpolicella is a famous passito wine that’s fermented dry. Before dropping $100+ on a 1/2 bottle of Vin Santo, perhaps you should try the offering from Barboursville?
- Finally, wine blogger Meg Tiffany takes a look at a fad that I really hope dies a quick and painful death: Chocolate Wine. Ms. Tiffany is a lot more kind than I would be if I ever actually reviewed this product.
“Still over in Brazil, Sipping Moscato”
– Lil’ Kim
“Lobster and shrimp and a glass of Moscato”
A few weeks ago, one of my friends posted the following status update on Facebook: Mmmmmmmmoscato!
Simple. To the point. Accurate?
For me, it certainly is. It should come as no surprise that I enjoy a bottle of Moscato on occasion. And while I tend to focus on more “sophisticated” dessert wines when I’m in the mood for something sweet, there’s nothing quite like a glass of Moscato on a warm summer evening when you’re sitting outside with your friends after a particularly satisfying meal. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Rappers and hip-hop artists have fueled a huge spike in demand among US consumers for this unassuming, fairly sweet and lightly sparking libation from Italy. Moscato’s popularity is surging so strongly among Millennial consumers that world-famous Tuscan wine producer Ruffino, a subsidiary of Constellation Brands, Inc., has decided to make a move into the Moscato market. Ruffino’s own marketing research notes a 178 percent increase in volume of production during the 12-month period ending November 27, 2011, together with a sales increase of 89.5 percent over that same period. Its own offering will carry a retail price of $15 and should be available this month.
So what exactly makes Moscato so special and is it just a passing fad? Read the rest of this entry »
In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s been a recent surge in the amount of news being devoted to the topic of sweet wines. I guess I’m not the only person out there who believes sweet wines are poised for a comeback. Here are a few of the highlights:
- In light of my post yesterday, I should mention Dave McIntyre over at the Washington Post published a small blip about Madeira a couple of weeks ago, together with some suggested wines. It seems he didn’t like the Blandy’s 5 Year Alvada as much as I did, only rating it 1.5 stars out of 3, but his tasting notes are accurate and in-line with my experience. He also posted an article earlier this month that begins with a lede I can fully support: “We don’t drink enough sweet wine.” Amen!
- Bonny Wolf from National Public Radio explains “Moscato Madness” with a small article and an informative podcast. There’s been a nearly 200% growth in Moscato sales over the past two years, thanks in part to hip-hop songs extolling its virtues, but I like to think it’s becoming popular because it’s delicious.
- The venerable New York Times has an interesting article about the battle over recently proposed “Cru” regulations in the Loire Valley. Pint-sized appellation Quarts-de-Chaume, which is renowned for making botrytis-affected Chenin Blanc, is the center of a contentious battle between Domaine des Baumard, one of its largest and most consistent producers, and a number of other vingerons. The battle lines have been drawn over production methods and vineyard management. It’s an interesting look into the back-room political and legal wrangling often caused by France’s AOC system. Read the rest of this entry »