The sweet wines of Bordeaux, produced in eleven different AOCs, offer a wide range of taste profiles and price points. Today’s wine buyers are always on the lookout for something new. The diversity and versatility of these sweet white wines ensure there is something for any palate.
Always featuring refreshing acidity and bright fruit characteristics, Sweet Bordeaux wines vary in residual sugar and fruit and floral characteristics. Highly versatile, the options for enjoying these wines are limitless. We touched base with several food, wine and hospitality specialists across the US to learn how they are working with Sweet Bordeaux wines and introducing them to their guests — from apéritif to cocktails and BBQ, clearly these wines are no longer just for dessert.
Chasity Beasley, a veteran mixologist for more than seventeen years in the Chicago market, loves to offer Sweet Bordeaux wines in cocktails in lieu of typical fortified wines. Beasley feels Sweet Bordeaux wines are elegant and approachable, offering natural sugars and lively exotic fruits and stone fruits. They add a layer of complexity and their lower alcohol content ensures a bright, lively cocktail.
Jeff Harding, Beverage Director at the Waverly Inn in New York City, recommends a Sweet Bordeaux wine as a simple apéritif to welcome guests. He pours a few ounces of the sweet white wine over ice, then expresses a twist of lemon or orange peel over the glass, rims the glass with the peel and finally drops it into the glass.
Harding says the chill of the ice reduces the impression of sweetness and elevates the aromas. He recommends younger vintages for the apéritif, as they show brighter fresh fruits, perfect to begin the evening.
Yannick Benjamin, Head Sommelier at the University Club in New York City, offers Sweet Bordeaux wine pairings with popular, Asian-inspired dishes. Benjamin especially likes Indian dishes for their rich flavors, spices and heat, vegetable samosas being one of his favorites.
Benjamin explains, “the white wines of Sweet Bordeaux are incredibly complex and extremely versatile. This category has no limitations on what it can be paired with, and it has endless possibilities when it comes to being creative for both cocktails, food pairings, and as a main ingredient for a dish.”
Justin Kingsley Hall, Executive Chef at Main Street Provisions in Las Vegas, loves pairing Sweet Bordeaux wines with his trademark open fire and barbecue cooking. One principal he notes is to avoid excessive levels of char from the grill. A nice, lightly charred dish is fine. Hall finds the flavors in Sweet Bordeaux wines stand up well to meats cooked over fire.
He feels pairing with barbecue offers an approachable and savory entry point to golden wines. The skin contact and aging in barrels play off the umami flavors of barbecued and smoked meats.
To learn more about Sweet Bordeaux wines, watch the webinar:
How Sweet Bordeaux is Breaking out of the Box.
This webinar is part of the How the Experts Tackle Bordeaux virtual learning series.
Article written by Jeff Burrows, WSET Advanced student and American wine writer for foodwineclick.