So I recently received the results of my wine course exam and I passed with distinction! I love my certificate and plan on hanging it up in my kitchen. I worked really hard on the course and study my ass off, so I'm really pleased.
Our final wine tasting class was on sparkling wines and dessert wines, which was my absolute favorite. I was looking forward to this class because I knew very little about the subject. I've always enjoyed drinking bubbly wine, but I never consciously thought about what I was drinking or taking note of a producer that I really liked. We tasted Spanish Cava, Italian Asti, Australian Brut-Cuvee and Champagne. I struggled a bit with the tasting and found this even more challenging than still wine. The non-vintage Laurent-Perrier Brut and Codorniu Brut Cava had really interesting flavors like biscuit and buttery bread from the malolactic fermentation, but my favorite was the sweet Asti Martini Spumante. Classy brawd, I know. Interesting things I learned about sparkling wine:
- sparkling wine produced in France outside of the Champagne region is called "Mousseux" or "Crémant"
- sparkling wine can be made from any grape, red or white
- England is beginning to produce some interesting sparkling wines
Ever since trying that delicious Hungarian dessert wine from our first class, I've been hooked on sweet wines. We tried a 2006 Chateau Laville Sauternes, which I much preferred to the 2011 Domaine des Bernardines Muscat Beaumes de Venise. I know what your thinking, doesn't dessert wine have a lot of sugar? Well I've done some nutritional research and I think if I'm out at a restaurant and craving something sweet for dessert, a sweet wine is a better alternative to traditional dessert. A standard glass of sweet white wine has about 165 calories and 14 grams of sugar. Compare that to a slice of cheese cake, which can have up to 450 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates. It's a no brainer and good dessert wine is just as decadent and rich. All you need is a small glass and if you pair it with a good cheese plate, the fat and protein from the cheese will lower the GI affect of the wine.
Hub and I were recently gifted two amazing wines, one sweet and one sparkling, that I would highly recommend. The first is the 1994 Tarlant Champagne Saga, which tasted of peaches and the label was hand written on the bottle. How cool is that? The other was a Chateau d'Yquem Lur Saluces Sauternes. Wow.
Helpful reads for this blog:
Andrew Barrow's piece on dessert wines in The Guardian
Wine Spectator weighs in on wine for diabetics