A romantic Valentine’s Day dinner is best concluded with a bottle of dessert wine. The extra sweetness in the meal will surely bring a broad smile to your love.
覺得伊甘售價太高昂的話，可以試試匈牙利的托考伊甜酒，它可是貴腐酒的老祖宗。路易十四曾說它是“王者之酒，酒中之王”，俄國沙皇時代更視為至寶，皇室會派遣軍隊駐守葡萄園，釀成後的酒更由騎兵一路護送到聖彼得堡！托考伊甜酒酒體豐滿，充滿葡萄乾、杏桃乾， 肉桂、橘子醬等風味， 陳年還會有堅果、咖啡、焦糖和蜂蜜及烏梅汁的味道。托考伊在酒標上通常會標記Puttonyos，它是一種用來盛裝貴腐葡萄“阿蘇”（aszú）的容器，酒標上的數字數量越高，代表充填入橡木桶的阿蘇數量越多，如3 Puttonyos，代表3桶貴腐葡萄，最高可以去到6桶，而最高級的的Aszú Essencia，則全桶都塞滿貴腐葡萄！
Many will think of the Sauternes Château d’Yquem of France when speaking of sweet wines. It is sometimes described as “droplets of gold” as each bottle can cost over HKD 10,000. The wine features hints of citrus, peach and the noble rot fungus. The more mature ones has an extra layer of complex plant flavours.
A more affordable option is Tokaji from Hungary. A more traditional style of noble rot wines, it was described by Louis XIV as the “Wine of Kings, King of Wine”. The Tsars also showed great fondness to it by sending armies to guard the vineyard. The wine was transferred directly to St. Petersburg by soldiers as soon as it was ready. Tokaji in general has a round body with hints of raisins, dried apricots, cinnamon, marmalade. The more mature ones feature flavours of nuts, coffee, caramel, honey and prune juice. The Puttonyos label on a Tokaji bottle denotes the sweetness of the wine. The Puttonyos is a container for the noble rot Aszú grapes. The higher the number, more Aszú is used. For example, “3 puttonyos” means three buckets of Aszú grapes were used. The maximum number is 6, meaning that the Tokaji was made entirely from the grapes. The resulting wine is known as Eszencia.
Apart from noble rot wines, Spätlese and icewine are also good dessert wine options. The former refers to the wine made from fully ripe grapes. They are deliberately left on the vines for a longer period of time, so the water content will decrease and proportion of sugar will increase. German Spätlese made mainly with Riesling is best known. Spätlese features a very different style to noble rot wines. It is lighter and carries fragrances of melon, flowers, tropical fruits, peach and honey. It is more acidic and has a hint of mineral taste. Icewine is made with grapes frozen on the vines. The frozen water in the grapes means a more concentrated sugar content. The acidity of the grape juice and fragrant components also rise as a result. It is not only one of the sweetest wines in the world, but also one of the sourest. It has hints of ripe pears, peach, mango, almond and flowers. Icewine produced by the Inniskillin winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario is considered the pioneer and has received multiple awards. It is the go-to option for icewine.
Noble rot wines, Spätlese and icewine can be paired with foie gras, blueberry cheese or spicy food such as Sichuan or Thai cuisines. However, they go best with sugary Japanese fruits. Europeans like having them with ice cream, which dissolves with the wine in the mouth. What a lovely experience!
Happy Valentine’s Day!