Katherine Donnelly: A sweet pair for romance
Published 05/02/2011 | 05:00
When it comes to wine, my Valentine's twist on the KISS rule is to 'keep it simple and sweet'. And a glass of dessert wine may double the delight of chocolate.
The wine should be at least as sweet as the chocolate. It is the sugar in grapes that converts into alcohol, and those picked for dessert wines are extra ripe and sweet.
Some wines may be sweet because the grapes spend longer on the vine, some because they dry, or partially dry, and concentrate, raisin-like, before fermentation, and while develop a fungus that does the trick.
Then there's ice wine, where the sweetness and acidity intensifies when the grapes freeze just before picking. The other family of dessert wines are the fortifieds, such as port. A ruby will have rich, upfront plumminess, while a 10-year-old tawny brings dried fruit, spice and touches of caramel to a union with chocolate.
Some of the best sweet wines for chocolate are made with Muscat, while at the opposite end of the weight spectrum is Italy's featherlight Moscato d'Asti, good with a light chocolate mousse. Banyuls, from southern France, is another port style that creates a symphony with chocolate.