We all know that wines can be enjoyed with or without food. And we know that wines can be paired with food. But can wines be considered food? In the case of dessert wines, I think the case can be made. Instead of eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream and apple pie, try some or all of the following wines as an after dinner dessert, or as an aperitif(before dinner)- and as a wine!
Chateau Guiraud, Sauternes.
Chateau Guiraud is classified as a Premier Cru or “First Growth” in the Bordeaux classification of 1855. Normally you can expect to spend part of your children’s inheritance for a chance to taste a Premier Cru, but not so with Chateau Guiraud. I picked up the 1996 vintage at Costco on mark down for about $15! But that is a ridiculous price. The 2009 vintage retails for $60 but even that is a steal. The ’09 was ranked #5 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012 and received 96 points. A 96 point Premier Cru for $60 a bottle?!
Paul Jaboulet Aine “Le Chant des Griolles”
This wine can be enjoyed before dinner. At about $20 – $40 for a 375ml bottle this wine is also a ridiculous deal. Other than the wine I am about to review next, this is my favorite dessert/aperitif wine. Something I’ve really gotten into lately is enjoying these dessert wines at the beginning of the evening and at the end. “Book-ending” your evening with these wines is a very interesting experience. By saving half of the bottle for the end of the night, you really get to see how the wine evolves, not only from being open, but because of the interaction with your changing palate. After you’ve eaten a variety of foods and consumed a variety of beverages, returning to the wine you started with will be a very interesting experience. You may still recognize the wine, but you’ll definitely notice significant changes.
Last, but not least, Chateau d’Yquem, a.k.a. “The Nectar of the Gods” This is the most amazing thing I have ever consumed, let alone wine. And “thing” is a terrible way to describe it, but I’m a blogger not a poet laureate. The critics including Wine Spectator and Robert Parker consistently rate this wine in the 95+ point range. In fact Robert Parker gave the 2009 vintage a 100 point rating. But wait there’s more… Wine Spectator rated the 2001 vintage 100 points, the 2011 vintage 99 points and the 2009 vintage 98 points. Everyone who’s serious about wine knows that points are not the be all and end all, but these ratings are hard to ignore. But don’t rush out and buy the wine just yet….get ready for some serious sticker shock. You can expect to pay well over $500 for a half bottle (375ml) for some of the better vintages. Or you could pick up the 2002 vintage which was only rated a measly 94 points for a meager $150+ per half bottle!