Updated: Sep 22, 2022
We have witnessed many trends over the years: the infamous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc phase; the phenomenal and never ending Prosecco binge; the stream of New World Merlots entering the market, New England IPAs vs hazy IPAs debate; and, not least, the gin mania of recent years.
There are inevitably some losers though. We hear over and over from industry colleagues that: “rum is the next big thing!” and “tequila is making its come-back next year!” or that UK consumers are moving more towards mellow Viogniers and aged Chardonnays than the crisper, green wines of late. We hear a lot of things about what you will be doing next.
What we never hear though is that “sweet wines are on the rise.”
Sweet wines tend to be overlooked. They are often only brought out at Christmas, or worse, are seen as wines for “beginners,” or that they’re unsophisticated and cheap and low in quality.
Like most things in life, it’s all about understanding what you enjoy. You don’t always need to follow the latest trend or buy into the latest fad.
You would think my husband is immune to trends. I can tell you he is not! We had purchased this lovely green slipper back chair recently. Just by looking at it, you could imagine sinking into it with a good book and a drink. His friend who enjoys the occasional expensive cigar had gifted him one and, as I was away, this must have felt like the right time for my husband to enjoy this expensive treat with a fine whisky. Bearing in mind my he doesn't drink or profess to like spirits, he did what I would do when buying something I know little about. He purchased a fancy bottle with an even fancier price tag! He was good to go.
We spoke that night and I asked how is his whisky and cigar night was going, sat in that lovely chair, contemplating life. It turned out out he had opted for a night in front of the telly watching Alan Partridge repeats and drinking IPAs instead.
From what I gather he tried to sip the whisky but the very thought induced a coughing fit as he puffed on his cigar in that lovely green slipper back chair.
He quickly decided this iconic pairing was not for him. He quickly got himself an IPA from the fridge and popped the telly on. Lesson learned.
People tend to know little about sweet wines. We may indulge while at a good restaurant and have a pudding wine after our meal, aiming to enjoy the full decadence of the experience.
So what should we know about them? Well they are refreshing and fruity, typically with notes of apricot, marmalade, citrus, barley sugar, honey and spices, and often have a great length.
Each wine does of course differ in taste so it’s always best to take advice when purchasing.
The grapes typically used in sweet wines are Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Viogner , Sauvignon and Semllion blends with Sauternes.
These wines are great with or without food. The food pairings really know no boundaries. You can enjoy them with your super sweet Eton Mess, Foie Gras and even your most overwhelmingly pungent blue cheese! They are that versatile.
But sometimes you just want something small and fancy something sweet. You want a satisfying tipple but not a full glass.
To me, a little drop or two of chilled sweet wine on a evening is just the ticket.
So, why go with the crowds? It’s time to give sweet wines a try! You might make a brand new friend …