We find a holiday wine guide by Joe Roberts, creator of wine website 1WineDude about dessert style wines that pair well with sweeter holiday fare and will help warm you up for the chillier months ahead. When searching for the perfect wine to treat your guests this winter, consider a dessert wine from our guide. Joe mentions Port, Madeira, Ice wine and Tokaji along with what tastes to expect and pairing suggestions.
The small Hungarian area of Tokaji was once the epicenter of the fine-wine world, primarily for its sweet wine made from grapes that have shriveled on the vine due to natural processes, which concentrates the fruit’s sugar and acidity. The wine from here was so well regarded that it has been said that Louis XV of France called it “Wine of Kings, King of Wines” when pouring it for Madame de Pompadour. It’s difficult to get a higher recommendation than that.
Tokaji production relies on a special fungus called botrytis that affects the grapes and turns them into raisins while still on the vine. This might not sound appealing (and those grapes certainly don’t look appealing when they’re picked, either), but the fermented results are anything but icky – just ask the next member of French royalty you happen to bump into.
While there are a few styles of Tokaji, the most well-known is Aszú, which has explosive flavors of sweet apricot, coffee, orange rind, citrus zest, and golden raisins. It’s most impressive feature, however, might be its vibrant, lip-smacking acidity, which helps it hold its own not only as an aperitif, but also as a match for desserts of nearly all kinds.