When I arrived for dinner with two chilled bottles of dessert wine, my friends were not sure what to say. I wasn't sure what to expect from a crowd that is used to drinking the every day Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay. Nevertheless, I decided that it was time for them to expand their realm of flavors and aromas by tasting a couple of dessert wines made from Muscat of Alexandria grapes.
Whereas Muscat grapes are grown all around the world, most plantings of this white varietal are concentrated in California, where it is generally used to produce raisins and table grapes.
Personally, I am not a great fan of fortified white dessert wines; however Muscat dessert wines are often very approachable and are usually reasonably priced when compared to ice wines or wines produced using botrytised grapes.
Binyamina, Muscat, Special Reserve, 2007
Light straw towards gold, the wine is showing typical Muscat aromas including: flowers, ripe peach and a touch of citrus. This dessert wine is of a medium body and offers a pleasant yet slightly alcoholic finish.
Binyamina, Muscat is a white dessert wine made from Muscat of Alexandria grapes. Similar to the famous fortified Muscats from the south of France, its fermentation was brought to a halt by the adding of brandy.
Carmel, Muscat, Private Collection, 2006
Medium bodied and slightly golden in color, this Muscat suggests aromas of sugary fruits and a hint of orange zest. These are accompanied by flavors of peach, honey and a pleasant sweet finish.
A general rule is that the wine should be sweeter than the food it is served with, a perfectly ripe peach is often referred to as the ideal partner for many dessert wines.