Let’s raise a glass to Mom. But not just any glass.
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How about something a little different, a special wine that will add a delicious grace note at the end of that wonderful Mother’s Day brunch or dinner?
Mother Day’s, of course, is about sweet things, whether it’s a box of candy or chocolates, her favorite flowers, or, first and foremost, Mom herself. A sweet wine, then, should find its place easily on Mother’s Day.
In general, sweet wines are made for dessert. More often than not they are white, as is the one from Italy that I’m going to suggest in a moment. The world’s most famous dessert wine is, without doubt, the Sauternes from Château d’Yquem in Bordeaux. Older vintages of this late-harvest blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc can reach into the hundreds of dollars per bottle.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to find very good dessert wines from any number of countries at reasonable prices, like one from Italy that I brought to dinner with friends last weekend. After a main course of grilled lamb chops, asparagus and herbed rice, it was time for dessert — homemade brownies for the kids, and an impressive sweet almond cake made from wheat and semolina flour for the grownups. It must have had a couple of hundred almond slivers on top, and it seemed made for a glass of dessert wine.
From previous vintages, I had a feeling that the newly released 2003 Florus, a late-harvest Moscadello di Montalcino from the Castello Banfi estate in Tuscany, would work well. The moscadella grape is a form of muscat, which is commonly used for dessert wines, and has been grown in Montalcino since the Renaissance. The grapes for this wine are left on the vine until late September and early October, which allows them to load up with sugar. Florus, as the label on the back of the bottle points out, means luxurious in Latin, and the word is fitting here.
She would find enticing aromas of honey, white flowers and notes of peach and orange. On tasting it, pineapple, orange peel and a hint of lime would join the mix (part of the wine is aged in oak barrels, the rest in stainless steel). The flavors filled the mouth and lingered, giving our almond cake a nice added dimension.
Florus has a good level of acidity, which keeps it from being syrupy. Like all good dessert wines, it is sweet yet refreshing, which happens to make it a perfect wine for Mother’s Day.
Edward Deitch's wine column appears Wednesdays. Write to him at EdwardDeitch@hotmail.com.
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