With party season getting underway, it’s time to look at dessert wines, no? (OK, so party season is nowhere near arriving, but these wines have been sitting here all year and I finally had the time to properly review them.)
This hodgepodge of wines basically have nothing in common except higher alcohol (usually), sweetness (some more than others), and the instruction to drink them after dinner. And they’re all under 30 bucks.
2007 Paul Jaboulet Aine Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise Le Chant des Griolles – Quite a mouthful for a Muscat, this relatively simple dessert wine from France offers a mere 15% alcohol and moderate sweetness. The body is citrus, with some backbone, a peachy/orange character intense with floral aromatics. The finish is a bit off, too meaty, but overall it’s solid for a muscat. B+ / $29 (375ml)
2008 Carlo Pellegrino Passito di Pantelleria – A Sicilian wine from the Zibbibo grape, this is more intense than standard Muscat, but still easy drinking. Lots of aromatics, with a bit of a harsh finish. Still, a bargain for Passito. 15% alcohol. B / $25 (750ml)
2008 Chateau de Jau Muscat de Rivesaltes (pictured) – Another French Muscat, it’s the lightest of the bunch, with a distinct lemon character (perhaps that’s why there’s a photo of a lemon on the bottle). Perhaps not decadent enough to stand up to a big dessert, it’s likely a better pairing with cheese or even before dinner. 15% alcohol. B+ / $19 (500ml)
2007 Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls Rimage – A big French red, but one that tastes stronger than its actual 16% alcohol. It has a raspberry and strawberry punch to it, which plays well with the relatively moderate sweetness. A little simple for a Banyuls, perhaps, but fairly easygoing and harmless. B+ / $19 (500ml)
2002 Churchill’s Late Bottled Vintage Porto – A bit of an anomaly in this roundup, but hey, we’re not perfect here at Drinkhacker. 20% alcohol and a fine way to wrap up the roundup. A simple LBV Port, it’s lush with plum character and black cherries, but the body is on the light side for Port. A very nice value and something I wouldn’t hesitate to order by the glass with a chocolaty dessert. B+ / $28 (750ml)