Wine tasting – A journey into sweetness 2014

wine sweetness 2014

42-46 Bethel Street, Norwich
£15 per person

A recurring theme at our organic wine events is the popularity of dessert wines. So we’ve created an evening of sweet delights, combining organic and vegan wines (and a liqueur!) with a dessert plate of three homemade organic treats.

We’ve arranged a later kick-off time of 8pm, to allow the sensible to eat savoury before arrival. The evening is intended as a dessert course, offering rich flavours to taste and savour, rather than large volumes of things to consume. Dessert wines are not about high yields… they are usually made from late-picked or dried grapes, in which are embedded the full sweetness of the summer sunshine, but from which have fled much of the liquid. The resulting wines are potent and concentrated.

But before we move on to the truly sweet wines, we will begin with a dry wine with a high level of residual sugar. Gewurtztraminer is a very distinctive grape variety: aromatic and spicy, often rich in tropical fruit flavours. Typically, it makes some of the sweetest dry wines you’ll (readily) find, and Jean-Pierre Frick’s biodynamic 2007 Gewurtz from the Alsace is an excellent example.

This should awaken our tastebuds, before we journey further into the heart of sweetness with a Vin Santo, the classic sweet wine of Tuscany. There’s a sherry-like quality to its nutty flavours, as the wine is traditionally lightly oxidised, due to its being made in porous chestnut barrels. This allows some evaporation (or dessication) to take place, and the liquid evaporated within the barrel is known as ‘the angels’ share’. A slice of the Greenhouse carrot cake should augment the nuttiness nicely.

We don’t want to make the night too sickly, and so the next combination should jolt and revive the palate. A ‘rhubarb pot’ will be offset by Pennard’s ginger liqueur. In the last weekend of March, the local rhubarb season should be underway. The Greenhouse kitchen has always based its menu around seasonal produce, and though there will be precious little of it around (late March, April, May being the “hungry gap” between winter and summer crops), rhubarb is one of the first flavours of a new season. Vibrant, even abrasive, and hopefully calmed and counterpoised by the mellow warmth of the liqueur. (Rhubarb leaves, for the record, form the basis of the cover image).

Having revived you with sweet-sour tang, we’ll end the evening on the richest and most decadent note… chocolate brownie with a fortified Malbec. This dessert wine sold out on the very night of our Christmas tasting, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting new stocks. And what a unique treat it is… made from late-picked grapes, it makes a dark, rich treat, with notes of chocolate, coffee and plum… the liquid equivalent of wrapping oneself up in a dressing gown made of fine fabric.

We aim to make you comfortable at our tasting events. The evenings are relaxed and sociable, with short introductions to wine tasting and to each wine, which we taste and discuss as a group, meaning you can come by yourself or with the (over 18 members of the) family. So whether you’re looking for a (slightly) early Mother’s Day present or not…

Landmarks on the journey:

1) Gewurtztraminer, Jean-Pierre Frick 2007
Alsace, France. 14.5% vol.,
shop price £17.30

2) Vin Santo Malmantico, Tenuta San Vito 2006
Tuscany, Italy. 17.5% vol.,
shop price £19.95 for 375ml bottle
Served with Greenhouse carrot cake

3) Pennard’s Ginger Liqueur
England. 21% vol.,
shop price £15.95 for 300ml
Served with homemade ‘rhubarb pot’

4) Fortified Malbec, Domaine Bousquet 2009
Mendoza, Argentina. 18.5% vol.,
shop price £13.95 for 500ml
Served with homemade chocolate brownie