Wine and Food Pairing - Sweet Foods

At The Wine Rack

Thursday, April 19, 2012    

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As Easter was in the air I decided to organise a fun Easter bun tasting experiment. The objective was to find out what wines on the market would taste better with particular Easter buns. Select Brands Marketing Manager Debra Taylor loved the idea and offered five wines for the experiment. We spread the word and about 30 persons showed up at Bin 26 Wine Bar for a fun evening of Bun and Wine.

Red Wines Selected

Santa Rita 120 Merlot, Rapel Valley, Chile - a rich, almost chewy mouthful of dry red wine, with a concentration of black fruit showing black plum skins, black currants and spices dominating, but also with melted liquorice, smoked almonds and toast. The other red wine was a sweet red wine called Lamothe Parrot from France. This was a light to medium-bodied sweet but simple wine with delicate, sweet red fruits.

White wines - Moscato and Riesling

Hogue Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington State, USA - This wine has fragrant aromas of apricot, peach, melon, lemon-lime, and a drizzle of honey on the nose. Slightly sweet with a delicate blend of apricot and tangerine, a pleasing mineral edge and crisp, refreshing acidity.

Woodbridge Moscato , California, USA - This Moscato has perfumed aromas of jasmine blossom and lightly sweet flavours with hints of lemon sorbet. The wine's style is slightly effervescent (called frizzante in Italy) and its lively acidity balances out the residual sugar.

Banrock Station Moscato, South Australia - On the nose this wine has Muscat-style aromatics, with subtle hints of fresh grapefruit and lemon. On the palate, delicate passion fruit and fresh pineapple flavours with sweet characteristics are present. The gentle spritz gives the wine an appealing lift and refreshing finish.

The Winner

Each guest first tasted the wine, then had a bit of the Easter bun and tried the wine again. The tasting order had us try the Merlot first, followed by the Riesling, the American Moscato , the Aussie Moscato and finally the sweet Red from France. While the group liked each of the wines individually for different reasons, tasting the wines with the rich, fruity buns had different results. Least favourite was the dry red wine, as sweet foods typically make red wines taste bitter and astringent. The majority seemed split between the Riesling and the Woodbridge Moscato. Next time we need to add a Port to the list, someone suggested.

The 'tech talk"

The level of sweetness in wine can be difficult to judge. Wine aroma can trick you into thinking that the wine is sweet when in fact the wine has a lot of fruit aromas or as we say in the trade - fruit forward. So as a result some persons end up confusing "fruit sweet" with "sugar sweet". The wine industry defines a sweet wine as one having perceivable amounts of residual sugar. Residual sugar is measured in grams per litre(g/L) and slightly sweet wines or off-dry wines have about 15 g/L. Sweet wines are in the region of 50g/L, while dessert wines can get up to 150g/L and beyond. Sweet wines also tend to have lower alcohol levels.

If you are considering selecting wines for desserts, the general guideline is that you should choose wines that are just as sweet or sweater than the food you plan to have them with.

Try this yourself at home and continue having fun with wine and food!

Chris Reckord - Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to Follow us on twitter: @DeVineWines @Reckord



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