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A daily sweet tipple

Riesling makes a fabulous sweet wine because its natural high acidity ensures a counter balance to the high concentration of sugars. There`s a refreshing sweet and sour intensity to it, which cleanses and livens the palate. Aromas and flavours include stone and citrus fruits (especially limes), ginger and flowers. Their sweet wines can be long lived, developing complexity and a honeyed richness with age. A fine example is New Zealand`s Escarpment Hinemoa from Martinborough, produced by winemaker Larry McKenna. Using the German classification, this wine would be rated Beerenauslese. I tasted this wine on Sunday with a fruit tart and it was delicious. One of the best value wines of its type on the market.  Another is Mount Horrocks `Cordon-Cut` Riesling, a stunning wine produced by the clever but risky Cordon-Cut method of cane-pruning employed in Clare Valley, Australia. The method involves cutting the vine`s canes when the grapes are ripe, allowing the remaining fruit to concentrate and raisin naturally. Winemaker Stephanie Toole is master of her art, and the wine is highly prized.    Now I refer to the effects of the mould botrytis cinerea on grapes, because most of the world`s best sweet wines, if their grapes have not been dried on mats (known as straw wines, or Passito in Italy), and if they have not had their grapes frozen on the vines (for the making of Ice wine), they will probably have been affected by the mould botrytis.  The effect on the grapes is to perforate and shrivel them, reducing their water content, thereby concentrating the sugars, acids and flavour components. However, they also add complexity to the wines, like seasoning. A curious flavour likened to beeswax.   Discovering wine is a journey, and sweet wine is for many the highlight. The summit, even. Why not start your climb by dropping into the Gt Horkesley shop? And you know the best thing about sweet wines: they will stay fresh in your fridge for weeks – longer – so you can treat yourself to a daily soupçon.    Cheers everyone.

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