Just in case you haven’t spoiled yourself enough over the holidays, I thought we’d start the new year on a sweet note. Not terribly expensive Icewine, but good value treats that hit the spot on cold afternoon or evenings.
With the exception of Icewine, the LCBO doesn’t carry much in this category but if you take the time to browse the Vintages department you’ll find lots of goodies. Chilling gives sweet wine a refreshing edge and whether you have it before, after or with food is entirely up to you.
Colio Estates 2005 Late Harvest Vidal is the buy of the season in sweet wine. Wonderful peach and caramel flavours and a refreshing tang. Henry of Pelham 2005 Select Late Harvest Vidal is more concentrated. Love in a glass. Ruffino 2000 Vin Santo de Chianti has a rich, fruitcake character. Sip after dessert.
For something only slightly sweet, try Blandy’s five-year-old Bual Madeira — nutty, caramel flavours and a refreshing dry tang. Serve it as a novel apéritif or as a great, anytime drink. Commandaria St. Nicholas from Cyprus is another sweetie with fruitcake flavours. It’s quite rich and sweet and couldn’t be nicer. The family will love it. A little goes a long way.
For a really great drink experience, treat yourself to Gonzalez Byass Oloroso ‘Matusalem’ Sherry, (even if you think you don’t like Sherry).
This wine is aged for 30 years, this is amazingly concentrated — the Single Malt of Sherries. It feels dry, rich and also sweet. It will perfume the entire house.
Happy new year!
Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of the most useful wine book on the market, Billy's Best Bottles Wines for 2007, a guide to the best wines at the LCBO. Available in bookstores or at www.billysbestbottles.com. For LCBO Vintages recommendations, wine events and in-home wine tastings, visit www.billysbestbottles.com.