Sweet Wines Are All The Rage — Really

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - April 27, 2011
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Fun in a bottle

Don’t look now, but sweet wines are taking over the world.

Some of the fastest-growing segments in the wine world today aren’t what you think. they aren’t the “classic” red wines with pedigree and history. no, no, these wines are all about flavor, and sweet flavor at that.

So what do you get when you cross riesling and 7-Up? You get Moscato. this is one of my wife’s favorite wines, and it is one with a huge following that is growing. there is a trend for drinkers to prefer lower alcohol beverages, whether it’s in bars, clubs or in restaurants. Has anyone heard of skinny Girl yet? Yes it’s liquor but low-calorie liquor and the ladies are ga-ga for it! Lower proof vodkas are the rage. but i digress.

Moscato is made most famously in the area of Asti in Piemonte, italy. it is made sweet because of the halting of the fermentation process. this leaves some sugar in the finished wine. it is bottled under pressure, and when you first pour a glass, there is a nice spritz, what italians call frizzante. (it sounds so much better in italian.) because the wine does not finish fermenting, it is also low in alcohol. it ranges anywhere from 5 percent to 7 percent by volume, which is half that of a typical sauvignon blanc (12 percent) or Chardonnay (13.5 percent). it is generally inexpensive, making it quite accessible. Moscato is a hugely aromatic grape that smells of white flowers, peaches, pears, lychee and grapes (duh!). With its sparkle and sweetness, it is just plain fun to drink. the worst of them can be cloying and blowsy (lacking acidity).

Can’t go wrong

At the other end of the spectrum they can be as light as cotton candy, haunt-ingly perfumed, refreshing and the perfect gulpable wine to enjoy with friends. My favorite is the La spinetta biancospino ($18). it’s a little pricier but it has the perfect balance of fruit, sweetness and flavor. it is just plain fun in a bottle. And for the money, at $7 you won’t go wrong with the Yellow tail version. Yes i said Yellow tail. Don’t be so surprised.

So what do you get when you cross fine Dutch chocolate with Cabernet wine? Let me pause here and let some of you think, “that sounds awful! Yuck!” oK, done with that. now let me introduce you to Chocovine. Drinkers have been trying to pair chocolate with wine since as long as anyone can remember. now this wine brings both in one bottle. it’s made in Holland and is 14 percent alcohol, just about the same as a napa valley Cabernet sauvignon. it is decadently sweet and rich, almost like an adult version of chocolate milk.

Sweet and rich

it is velvety and blends really well to make a host of other cocktails. i know you are scratching your head; thinking “i can’t believe roberto is writing about this.” but trust me, you’ll see a lot of these types of wines. it has been hugely successful all across the country. in fact, there are two new flavors in the line already with espresso and raspberry. You taste it and be the judge. At about 10 bucks, it’s going to be in every bar and college campus real soon.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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