Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sweet Romance - and Sweet Wines for that Anniversary or Birthday

Along with chocolates, flowers (and perhaps a ring), Valentine's Day is a loving holiday worthy of something special - perhaps a delicious dessert, perhaps delicious, sweet wines to go with that dessert.

Quady Winery ( has been making delightful, very creative, award-winning sweet wines in Madera, CA since 1975, shipping their wines to connoisseurs in the U.S. and worldwide.

Something Different - and Predictable - for a Change

And, unlike the uncertainly and guesswork we have all experienced opening a bottle of wine - only to find it has gone bad - these wines are consistently delicious and predictable.

Sweetness comes in many forms, perhaps as an aperitif before a great meal, wonderful as a sweet wine pairing with many desserts - and many people, regardless of age or romantic inclination - have not tasted excellent sweet wines.

There is Essensia, made from delicious Orange Muscat grapes (known in Italy as Orange Blossom Muscat), a delicious accompaniment to desserts, especially chocolate and those containing almonds, peaches, apples or apricots. With sparkling water, Essensia makes a refreshing spritzer; with sparking wine you have an Essensia Royale. Delicious.

Elysium - Made from the Black Muscat grape with a rose and litchi scent and especially appropriate for Valentine's with the heart on the label. Elysium is perhaps the best accompaniment for dark chocolate dessert. Valentine's Day made simple? A bottle of Elysium, a red ribbon and the finest chocolate dessert you can find.

Quady's Batch 88 Starboard, is, yes, Port. But, of course, it can't be "Port" because that comes from a place in Portugal, the Douro River Valley. Since "starboard" (right) is the opposite nautical direction to port (left) that's how it got its name. The grapes in this world-class port are primarily Tinta Roriz from the Madera, CA area, a blend of several vintages, 190 proof neutral grape spirits (instead of the usual 140 proof fortifying brandy) and then aged, on average, five years. Superb for those who love a great, after-dinner Port.

Deviation is a new style of dessert wine made by infusing aromatic plants into Muscat. In Deviation, Quady has infused two botanicals: Scented geranium and Damiana. The result is truly exotic, a breathtaking aroma of honeysuckle and rose. The wine tastes sweet but amazingly finishes dry. As one reviewer said: "Perhaps the most exotic beverage at this price I have ever tasted - literally breathtaking . perfect for the sweet warm shadows at the end of a long summer picnic, or any intimate occasion."

Electra, a light, very low alcohol (4%) picnic wine (with the tastes of peaches and melons) partners nicely with summer fruits (strawberries, nectarines, peaches and melons), salads, spicy Asian and Indian foods, light desserts, lovely blues skies and a day in the fresh air. It's just excellent as it is, or perhaps on the rocks or semi-frozen as a slushy.

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