by Markus Stolz

sweet wines

byMarkus Stolz
December 6, 2010, 4 Comments

Greece could claim to be the birthplace to some of the most intriguing sweet wines in the world that can rival top quality styles from anywhere else. Many of the international leaders in sweet wines, however exceptional, are too rich to be consumed with food, in sharp contrast with their Greek counterparts.

The rich, grapey aroma and balanced, fruity acidity of the Greek Muscat make them some of the finest examples of their kind in the world. Candied oranges, gingerbread cookies, apple or apricot pie, white chocolate, fruit cake, feta and blue cheeses like Stilton or Roquefort can nicely complement the honey and citrus flavours of Muscats from Samos, Limnos, Patras or Rhodes.

The powerful, port-like nutty sweetness of Mavrodaphne dessert wines, coming from Patras, Cephalonia or elsewhere, does well with chocolate and nutty desserts, tiramisu and mince pies. It can also used as a flavouring agent in a wide range of dark sauces served with beef gravy, roasted chicken or turkey and game. The oldest bottles, however, have to be reserved for “moments of meditation” and be paired with unsweet desserts, like those based on bitter chocolate.

Santorini’s fascinating, rich Vinsanto, with its refreshing acidity and huge extract, can be enjoyed not only on its own, but deliciously matched with baklava or any other sweet pastry made with phyllo, as well as with crème brulée, chocolate puddings, baked quince, pecan pie, carrot cake, rich pâtés and mince pies. Nevertheless, many professionals make a distinction between sweet wines made for desserts and sweet wines that can accompany savoury dishes – and Vinsanto is definitely a savoury-sweet wine. Try it with dense, intense, creamy cheeses or even roasted meat stuffed with fruit.

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  1. Christina KroDecember 7, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Excellent! And now with the holidays approaching a sweet Greek wine is an ideal way to close a dinner, either with cheese or with dessert! Thanks again Markus, Konstantine and Niko!

  2. elloinosDecember 7, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Christina, I agree. Now where temperatures finally start to drop in Greece, we might even get the chance to enjoy those wines at the open fireplace…

  3. Viviane Bauquet FarreDecember 7, 2010, 7:43 pm

    Markus, I had the pleasure of tasting two outstanding Greek sweet wines last month. I only wish they were better distributed in the US… But with all your efforts, I bet this will change soon enough. Next best thing is to come to Greece to taste some! Wonderful and informative post – as always.

  4. elloinosDecember 7, 2010, 8:33 pm

    Viviane, there are some stunning bargains available, we will taste them together when you visit! Mark Squires is also a big supporter or these wines, and Konstantinos points out quite correctly that the Greek ones are indeed more food friendly than their international counterparts. I for one am very happy that I can buy great quality at more than fair prices.