|Come November and the entire North India gets into an affectionate winter hug, while other parts run amok, no longer wary of the heat, writes Kulpreet Yadav. It is that time of the year when ambition is ripe with romantic escapades; the heart is aflutter with festive excitement, and the mouth, off course, salivates just at the thought of good food and great wines.|
Then there is Christmas and the New Year sitting pretty just round the corner to take one through yet another year, drenched in their signature revelry and promise.
Now, to choose the right type of wine to ward off that shiver without taking the charm of the winter season away is one of the most interesting challenges at this time of the year. So, on that note folks, may I recommend Dessert wine as an opportune escapade in sync with all the sweet-everything eating options?
Dessert wines, though a tad bit expensive, are indeed one of the most pleasurable of options for the season. Consumed in small measures (2/3 ounces), these are served chilled and almost kissed when sipped. In France, some of the best dessert wines are produced in Alsace, Barsac, Sauternes, or the Anjou-Saumur. The Ice wines of Austria, Germany or Canada, and late harvest wines from California and New York State are popular too. Hungary’s great dessert wine, Tokay Aszú (Tokay is a method of using scoops of raisins while making wine to achieve a desirable level of sweetness), is another of those fascinating dessert wines enjoyed by many connoisseurs. In sweetness, dessert wines vary from being light to almost honey sweet. Methods of reaching this sweetness vary from producer to producer. Late harvest, when sugar levels increase in grapes that are still on the vines in warm weather, botrytis or noble rot, a fungus that infects grapes imparting a distinctive sweetness, and freezing the grapes, are some of the usual methods.
Now comes the real challenge: How to pair these wines with food? Rule of thumb: the wines should always be sweeter than the dessert, or at least somewhere there. Since our Indian desserts tend to be very sweet, the right pairing is a challenge. Here’s my advice:
When pairing spongy white Rosgullas with a dessert wine, ask for the syrup to be drained before serving. At the table, give the rasgulla a smart squeeze with the spoon. Asking the chef to go easy on the sugar when making kheer, rabri or Carrot halwa is another option.
Just last week I had the option to sample Moscato D’Asti from the Asti Region of northwest Italy. Medium in alcohol, it paired amazingly with rusgullas, bursting in the mouth with wondrous pear and Apricots notes, impossible to miss.
So folks, allow some adventure in your winter repasts and drink smartly. Cheers!