Dessert Wines: What is the difference?
Why are dessert wines normally served in smaller bottles?
Dessert wines are most commonly served as aperitifs or digestifs in smaller, thinner wine glasses, as a result of the strong and sweet nature. Due to the richness, some of the dessert wines are produced in 50cl bottles. However, most of the dessert wines are in standard 75cl bottles.
The biggest difference between the Rivesaltes and the Muscat Sec is the origin and way of production. Both contain the Muscat of Alexandria grape, however, the Rivesaltes is wholly made of this grape, whereas the Muscat Sec only partially contains this, combined with the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grape.
The Rivesaltes Muscat is known for being very sweet because the grapes are harvested later when the sugars have reached maturity. In comparison, the Muscat Sec is known for being a dry wine, because the grapes are harvested early before the natural sugars are fully developed.
Ratafia (Rah-Ta-Feeya) is a sweet dessert wine that typically holds fruity or cassis aromas. This dessert wine is predominantly made across France, and is know particularly in the Champagne and the Sud Ouest regions. The wine is produced by fortifying unfermented grape juices with high proof brandy immediately at the fermenting process. To maximise the taste of your wine, it is recommended to serve cold in aperitif glasses.
Port is a fortified wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal which is made by adding wine spirit or brandy before the end of the fermentation process. The most common flavours are; dried fruits, chocolate, nuts and cinnamon.
White port can be served as an aperitif but all ports are traditionally served after a main meal with cheese or dessert at around 10-16ºC for darker ports, like the Ruby or Tawny, and around 9-12ºC for White ports.
Creme de Cassis is a dark red liqueur with the flavours of blackcurrants. This is a speciality of Burgundy, however, it is now produced all over the world.
Creme de Cassis is recommended in cocktails, such as mixed with soda water, lemonade, or in something more fancy, such as the cocktails on the Absolut Website.
Poire William's or 'William's pear' is a clear fruit brandy, which is made using the Williams' bon chrétien pear, which is the most common pear outside of Asia. This is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation.
Poire William's Eau De Vie is best served in a small glass as a digestif (drink after the meal), served chilled.
Sparkling wines can be produced with several different variants, such as the grapes used. The wine is traditionally produced by undergoing the fermentation stage twice; once in the barrel, then once in the bottle. Yeast and sugar are added into the bottle, which creates natural sparkling wine. These wines can be red, rose or white depending on the grape type and the skin of the grape being left on at the fermentation stage (alike regular winemaking).
Sparkling wine is recommended to be served chilled in small glasses as a digestif.
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