On Saturday the Anuva team met for a short and sweet in-company tasting. With only 9 wines the tasting took about 40 min to complete. In the line up was a dessert wine. Pink viscous and aromatic. My initial reaction was Halloween candy, like when I was 10 and returning home with a large plastic pumpkin filled to the brim, devising a plan of how to convince my parents that I should be entitled to eat the entire lot. Others suggested tawny port and caramel. I’ll admit I am often apprehensive to try dessert wines. I tend to prefer coffee with my cake and feel slightly ill at the thought of sucking in any extra sugar.

Many a winery can make good desert wines but also make some horrendous sticky sweet syrups. Saturday night’s sample was made very well. And some people love desert wines, like Stuart who later washed down an entire dulce de leche flan with the wine. Dessert wines can be tricky:


By definition a dessert wine refers to all fortified wines, with 16-21% alcohol, sweet or not. This includes ports, late harvests, sauternes, sherry and tirades. Production styles vary in Argentina desert wines are called Dulces or tardias (late harvests). Late harvest wines are difficult to make because the Grapes are left on the vines longer and thus are more susceptible to damage and weather. One of the first rules of fruit growing is that everyday on the vine is a risk. Delaying harvest can be a huge loss. But with some luck the grapes ripen, swell and eventually shrink. Flavors are concentrated and sugar levels are high. (Thus higher alcohol) As a result of the production desert wines tend to be more expensive.

In addition from a seller’s perspective moving dessert wines, which often come in 375 ml bottles can be a burden and throw off shipping. I have tried very few dessert wines. I will leave the wineries nameless, but some of the dessert wines I have tried have been pretty awful. But Saturday’s experience sparked my interest and I would be more willing to try other dessert wines in the future. My approach to wine and everything else for that matter is anything can be good if done right.

If you are interested in trying dessert wines I suggest the following -Try various dessert wines in tasting rooms, most wineries will feature theirs -Consult your local wine shop for a recommendation – Consider Argentina, which has been receiving more attention for its dessert wines. The low humidity in many regions allows the grapes to linger on the vines with less risk. To serve dessert wine -Whites chilled, reds partially chilled -Pair with foods, less sweet than wine. For example almond biscotti or pound cake pair easily with most dessert wines. -Fresh fruit like peaches are another option -Consider creamy cheeses, pates as alternatives to desserts.