- Monday, 20 February 2012
As you squeeze the lemon juice over your pancakes tomorrow will you be contemplating an accompanying glass of wine or a nice cup of tea? Because wine isn’t the natural partner of choice for the traditional Shrove Tuesday meal. Adding lashings of sugar as well will almost stops the taste buds registering anything – unless it’s even sweeter or more acidic than each of the pancake toppings. So what wine, if any, matches these criteria?
Well it’s got to be a wine that is both sweet and sour at the same time. What seems like an impossible combination comes together in the sweet French wine Sauternes. Named after the region where it is made, Sauternes is a blend of the white grapes Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, which when fermented results in a drink tasting of butterscotch and Seville orange marmalade.
But how is the unusual flavour combination achieved? Sip a straight Sauvignon Blanc and you’ll be met with the unmistakeable flavours of gooseberry, and Semillon wines often taste of peach and runny honey. But in Sauternes they add mouldy grapes to the fermenting brew and this changes the chemical mix and the resulting final flavour.
The chosen grapes exhibit the ‘good type’ of mould botrytis cinerea, commonly known as noble rot, a fungal infection provoked by the humid conditions found in the vineyards next to the cold River Ciron. This gets to work on the grapes and shrivels them into an unappetising grey fluffy mess.
Chateau d’Yquem is famous for turning these botrytized grapes into something worth paying for, about £400 a bottle. But there are cheaper supermarket alternatives starting at about £10 – and the best are reviewed below.
PG Sauternes Tips
Chateau Haut Bergeron Sauternes, £9.97 (50cl) Asda groceries.asda.com
Smaller bottles are a usual feature of dessert wines and this Sauternes is no exception – two-thirds of a standard bottle for a tenner. But you won’t want too much of a good thing, or will you?
Chateau Liot Sauternes 2008, £12.49 (37.5cl) Ocado www.ocado.com
A high quality blend of 85% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Sauternes, £12.99 (37.5cl) Sainsbury’s www.sainsburys.co.uk/groceries
Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne Sauternes 2004, £25 (75cl) Ocado www.ocado.com
Double the amount for double the price with flavours of orange peel and melon.
And if you do want a cup of tea instead, try:
Robert Wilson’s Ceylon Tea Brunswick Estate (125g loose tea), £5.04 www.wilstea.com
Clean, crisp and fragrant.
If you want to tell Paula about a bargain bottle spotted at the supermarket or off-licence then contact her via her website link below.
Paula's Wines of the Week starting 11th March 2013 - 11 March 2013
Paula's Wines of the Week starting 25th February 2013 - 26 February 2013
Paula's Wines of the Week starting 6 February 2012 - 07 February 2012
Paula's Wines of the Week starting 30 January 2012 - 30 January 2012
Paula's Wines of the Week starting 23 January 2012 - 23 January 2012