Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

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Sarah Kirschbaum
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Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#1 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 24th, 2020, 8:01 am

When I first started buying wine seriously, I included a number of sweet wines. I succumbed to the popular wisdom that you had to have dessert wines in a diverse collection. 2001 sauternes hit the market with tons of hype. I discovered tokaji! Back then I had dinner parties heavily influenced by my mother’s entertaining style (she taught me to love cooking, too, bless her), and that meant you always made dessert. You also always had bread on the table and made a pot of coffee after dinner.

So I accumulated a number of sweet wines in the cellar. My husband went through the same progression, though with more sweet vouvray and fewer sauternes. Now we have a few hundred bottles in the collection, not counting fortified wines (port, madeira, sherry). Know how many bottles of dessert wine I’ve opened in the last 10 years? Exactly 4. And one of those was brought to a friend’s birthday party, since he's a big fan.

We just don’t open them. Partly, my entertaining style has changed and I no longer make dessert very often. I don’t like to bake and sugar late at night makes me sleep badly. I often want a “closer” after a meal, but these days it’s almost always something distilled – the thought of something sticky and sweet after a meal is not very appealing.

I’m curious what other people who’ve been in this game for a while have found when it comes to sweet wine. Has your interest waned? Grown? Stayed the same? I know almost everyone likes sweets more than I do. I also know that when newbies ask for buying advice, there’s always a few people who say “don’t forget the stickies!” But other than the big high octane reds, it strikes me that nothing gets left behind as tastes change faster than sweet wines.

For the sake of discussion, I’m specifically talking about truly sweet/dessert wines here, not off-dry like kabinett or spatlese.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#2 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 » May 24th, 2020, 8:06 am

Lol, I was just pondering a similar thought a few months ago.

After that epiphany, I did start opening some. Half bottles. I think that is the trick with dessert wines unless I am hosting and its a crowd that appreciates them.

Otherwise, yup, they sit, and sit, and sit, and....

I'm trying to be more balanced with them of late.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#3 Post by J. Rock » May 24th, 2020, 8:07 am

A couple of thoughts (besides me loving dessert wines and wanting to buy some off of you):

1. If you wait long enough, won't they become dry or just off dry?

2. I usually prefer dessert wines with strong cheeses and other rich and savory foods much more than sweet desserts. Some bleu cheese and Riesling GKA, BA, Eiswein, vintage Port etc. and some good TV is a wonderful time for me (especially now when we can't have guests over).
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#4 Post by Peter Kleban » May 24th, 2020, 8:16 am

I have exactly the same problem. Except that the number of sweet wines in your cellar is not so far from the number of wines in mine! Oh well, no surprise, I'm not in the same league. I stopped buying sweeties some time ago. The ones I have just sit there waiting for the special occasion that never comes. C'est la vie, I guess.

Jordan, good idea to have them with cheese. Could probably extend that to other tidbits.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#5 Post by alan weinberg » May 24th, 2020, 8:18 am

funny but just last night, I opined, “let’s open a dessert wine.” I have the same issue as Sarah, worse w my small port collection—never open them. The 01 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling BA wasn’t even that good. As for future plans, the wines are ageless, so I’ll keep them, but tastes change and the good news is, that as one moves away from a wine style, someone else moves in—so sell whatever is no longer wanted.

Returning to the OP’s question, we also rarely drink them and they sit in the cellar . . . haven’t bought any in years except the occasional Donnhoff Eiswein.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#6 Post by Matthew King » May 24th, 2020, 8:22 am

A few thoughts:

“Dessert” wines with dessert are usually too much. The Sauternes is dessert at my table.

Dessert wines don’t have to wait for dessert to be opened. Try a non-apricoty non-fruit bomb as an aperitif or to pair with roast chicken or with certain curries. Sounds counterintuitive but it often works.

Of any wine I find Sauternes holds up in the fridge for a few days. I have no interest in two-day-old Vosne-Romanée but Sauternes can be nursed awhile.

375s are a must. The reality is that unless you are hosting a dinner party for 10 it will be hard to work through a whole bottle. Usually one small glass is all people want.

Thanks for all your thoughtful posts lately.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#7 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 24th, 2020, 8:26 am

J. Rock wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:07 am
A couple of thoughts (besides me loving dessert wines and wanting to buy some off of you):

1. If you wait long enough, won't they become dry or just off dry?

2. I usually prefer dessert wines with strong cheeses and other rich and savory foods much more than sweet desserts. Some bleu cheese and Riesling GKA, BA, Eiswein, vintage Port etc. and some good TV is a wonderful time for me (especially now when we can't have guests over).
Sugar will sometimes become less overt for sure, but that's more noticeable on something like auslese, which is not the subject of this discussion. I've had Y'quem from the early '20s, which was still pretty darn sweet - if it takes more than 90 years, it's not particularly relevant. And I've never known sweet Tokaji to go dry or even drier.

The problem I have with sweet wine and cheese is that when I have cheese, I want to *drink* something with it, not take tiny sips from one small glass for an hour. I see no point in just a bit of cheese. :)

Edited to add on that last point Jonathan's take: "Well sure, I'd love to have 1 oz of Carles Roquefort and a thimble of Yquem. Then we can have our cheese course."

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#8 Post by Jonathan Kalman » May 24th, 2020, 8:31 am

I only have a few full size bottles and it is hard to find an occasion to open these. On the other hand 375's are ideal and we go through 10/12 a year.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#9 Post by Peter Kleban » May 24th, 2020, 8:35 am

Jonathan Kalman wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:31 am
I only have a few full size bottles and it is hard to find an occasion to open these. On the other hand 375's are ideal and we go through 10/12 a year.
Do you drink them with dessert, or in some other setting? Asking for a friend. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#10 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 24th, 2020, 8:40 am

Matthew King wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:22 am

Thanks for all your thoughtful posts lately.
Thank you for the kind words, Matt!

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#11 Post by Yao C » May 24th, 2020, 8:43 am

It was Sauternes that pulled my husband and me into serious wine drinking. In the first year of notes I have, 60% of the bottles we opened were sweet. These days, our Sauternes consumption is almost completely nonexistent. What does survive is: when we go to a restaurant with a fancy tasting menu (e.g. Baume, Benu in the Bay Area) that might be more difficult to pair with wine, we'll sometimes bring a Sauternes and follow it through the entire meal. Sometimes it'll even be a full bottle. I find there are often really interesting, unexpected accords that emerge with Sauternes...
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#12 Post by John S » May 24th, 2020, 8:45 am

Like you I find I don't drink as many as I used to buy. There are so many great dessert wines it is easy to buy a lot as they are fairly easy to source and not generally super expensive. Luckily I never got too heavy in them but still sold quite a few as I had more than I wanted long term.

I do enjoy opening one with the pungo and then just having a small bit over a week or two. Then I always wonder why I don't always have one open as just a couple sips fairly often is awfully nice. But then I finish the bottle and forget about it.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#13 Post by Cris Whetstone » May 24th, 2020, 8:48 am

I'm in a similar boat. Though I've never bought a ton. I don't even really look to pop German Riesling very much. It just never screams out to my palate.

Part of it probably is that I don't have much of a sweet tooth. For instance, I've never enjoyed 'stickies' with dessert. It just feels like poured on overkill. Sugar on top of sugar. It's been very rarely a good pairing when I've even tried it. In the vast majority of cases I find sweet wines and sweet desserts just clash.

I did buy some bleu cheese recently to polish off a half of an 03 Sauternes that I think needs to be drank. But I can't say I'm super excited about it.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#14 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » May 24th, 2020, 8:58 am

My interpretation of dessert wines has always been that they are the dessert. Sometimes they pair well with a dessert food item that has some fruit or even savory character, but most of the time we drink it on its own.

That being said, Spatlese and Auslese with age paired with spicy food (Thai in particular for us) is a great combo.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#15 Post by Barry L i p t o n » May 24th, 2020, 9:06 am

Same here.

Have 33 bottles of port, 24 of sauterne, 7 SGNs, A couple of Vendage Tartives,5 sweet Loire, a couple tokai, a few misc sweet (tirecuil)

Probably open one every three years. Primarily due to blood sugar concerns. I am also limiting my intake so it likely means one less glass if burgundy.

I love port, but serving it at the end of a meal if folks are driving doesn’t work anymore as folks drink less at dinner parties.

I enjoy it with fois gras at restaurants. But that’s the rare event these days, especially in California.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#16 Post by Jim Stewart » May 24th, 2020, 9:08 am

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#17 Post by Andrew M » May 24th, 2020, 9:22 am

Anyone looking to downsize their collection of 2001 Sauternes half bottles is welcome to PM me or refer to my post in commerce corner :)
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#18 Post by Arv R » May 24th, 2020, 9:42 am

Sweet wines can go well with some kinds of appetizers. Years ago Henry of Henry's Evergreen introduced us to sweet Loire's and his orange glazed shrimp appetizer. That concept can be extended.

And since they keep well opened in the fridge, you don't have to consume them at a sitting, either.

But if your tastes have fundamentally changed over the decades, and these are now unpalatable in any situation, its a problem, likely only remedied by gifting/selling. It seems like sweet wines go for very little in auction markets, especially outside the trophy names like Nacional, Yquem etc.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#19 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 24th, 2020, 9:48 am

Arv R wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 9:42 am
Sweet wines can go well with some kinds of appetizers. Years ago Henry of Henry's Evergreen introduced us to sweet Loire's and his orange glazed shrimp appetizer. That concept can be extended.

And since they keep well opened in the fridge, you don't have to consume them at a sitting, either.

But if your tastes have fundamentally changed over the decades, and these are now unpalatable in any situation, its a problem, likely only remedied by gifting/selling. It seems like sweet wines go for very little in auction markets, especially outside the trophy names like Nacional, Yquem etc.
Exactly, Arv, thanks for that. I don't like them (or much of anything sweet) very much anymore, and I know that. I started the thread not looking for advice on how to increase my consumption, but to hear if other people have had the same experience or if there are a lot of folks who continue to drink these at a good pace. When I read the advice to newbies of "Don't neglect the stickies!" I want to say "Go ahead and neglect the stickies - you'll never end up drinking them!" Guess I'm trying to determine which side of that argument holds more water.

You're right, too, about the auction market. There's really very little point. And since, as Alan said, they last pretty much forever, I might as well let them sit there.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#20 Post by Marshall Manning » May 24th, 2020, 10:00 am

Sarah, I feel the same way, although I don't have many really sweet wines left. I started out really liking dessert wines 25 years ago, but my palate seems to enjoy them less as I get older, so I hardly buy them any more and probably don't open them more than 2-3 times per year. I occasionally like a glass of tawny port or something like that as a nightcap, but usually don't want to open full bottles. Even with Germans, I generally prefer the balance on Spatlese now as opposed to Auslese 20 years ago.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#21 Post by R. Frankel » May 24th, 2020, 10:05 am

My interest in them has stayed fairly steady - which is modest. I always like them but almost always just reach for something else. My strong growing interest in Kabinett/Spätlese has something to do with it, for sure. Those satisfy my cravings for sweetish wine experiences more often. Still I open truly sweet ‘dessert’ wines more than you - maybe a half dozen a year.

But I never lost my mind buying them, instead I just buy about what I need - there is ample supply in the market. I wish I did that with other kinds of wine more!

In terms of your ‘problem’ it seems the solution is easy enough - sell them! There is a market, especially if you have the better known names. Just think about how much this would further your cellar reduction efforts.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#22 Post by R. Frankel » May 24th, 2020, 10:11 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 9:48 am
You're right, too, about the auction market. There's really very little point. And since, as Alan said, they last pretty much forever, I might as well let them sit there.
Saw this after I posted. I’m not sure that there’s very little point. You say you have hundreds of bottles. Send the entire list to K&L or Winebid - you might be surprised. Certainly it depends on what you have, but there seems to be a steady flow of Sauternes and Rieslings from good vintages in those auctions. 200 times $20 is $4000 - maybe you could convert your never to be consumed stickies into a (future) vacation or a bottle or two of La Tâche [cheers.gif] .
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#23 Post by Keith Levenberg » May 24th, 2020, 10:23 am

I open 1 or 2 a year, but fortunately never got tempted to acquire very many of them. For those overloaded, I don't get the impression they hold their resale value very well, alas - but sacrificing a bottle or two of Sauternes now and then to poach a lobster in is a nice treat.

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#24 Post by Russell Faulkner » May 24th, 2020, 10:26 am

I think I opened three Auslesen (97 Grunhaus, 16 Spater-Veit and 19 Bollig) and a Moscato this month.

That’s about normal for us.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#25 Post by Bob Hughes » May 24th, 2020, 10:34 am

Never drink them at home, as my wife detests sweet wines and I can't do even a 375 by myself.

But I still enjoy a nice Sauternes with a foie gras course when dining out, and as some folks have pointed out, they can be delicious with cheese. Most of my stuff in the cellar is from the '86-'90 period, and as Alan mentioned, it seemingly lasts forever, so we are slowly working through inventory. [cheers.gif]

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#26 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 24th, 2020, 10:36 am

Russell Faulkner wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 10:26 am
I think I opened three Auslesen (97 Grunhaus, 16 Spater-Veit and 19 Bollig) and a Moscato this month.

That’s about normal for us.
Funny, Auslesen have always been in this no man's land for me of too sweet to go with Thai or Vietnamese food, but not sweet enough to be dessert. So I've never really bought much. Go figure.

Edited to add that I have had a number of wonderful aged auslesen with savory dishes that have a sweet component. I just haven't really accumulated them.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#27 Post by Russell Faulkner » May 24th, 2020, 10:37 am

All of those were served for aperitif. (The moscato was junk so I had to mix it with vermouth)

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#28 Post by J. Rock » May 24th, 2020, 11:24 am

I also want to add that I only got really into wine about a year and a half ago, so although I love dessert wine now (and all Rieslings), I wonder if that'll change, similar to what many of you are describing. I'm kind of doubting it, since I'm in my 30s and still enjoy candy, I like to use brown sugar in some of my [meat] rubs, have honey on cheese, etc. (and my wife and I LOVE cheese), we we'll see.

If anyone in LA area is looking to dump some Eiswein, BA, TBA, or even GKA Riesling, let me know!
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#29 Post by Frank Murray III » May 24th, 2020, 11:24 am

Sarah, I own no dessert wines and I know some really like the wines but for those of us (like me) who really don't enjoy sugar or things sweet, the wines just don't work for me. When they get served at events, I just pass on them.

Wet Rock, sorry about you having to drink that 1/2 bottle and with bleu cheese no less. [bleh.gif]
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#30 Post by Tomás Costa » May 24th, 2020, 11:39 am

Fine Port and Madeira have given me the most extraordinary tasting experiences of my life. At their best these are infinitely complex wines in which one is not consciously aware of sweetness, but rather of a harmonization of countless different elements. It's a completely different experience from a plain sweet wine - including the entry levels themselves of Port and Madeira. However, I've only had these great wines at tastings. I would have never had them if I had had to buy them, and I agree that it can be tricky to make room for them at the dinner table.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#31 Post by Rich K0rz€nk0 » May 24th, 2020, 11:52 am

I think its a good point raised on tastes changing. Mine have. I've moved away for overly sweet things, especially desserts. I gravitate more towards tart and acidic. Love me some Sorbet. And there's always room for cheese.

I think I started out buying them on some naive and OCD concept of a balanced cellar. I had space to fill; why not fill it like a super market. Something for any time. I can walk through the aisles picking what I like to drink. I care less about that now. Time, tastes, knowing I can't drink it all. Its all changed.

I do still think they have a place, and a time. Just not often for me hence they sit, and sit. I've tried lately to see if I can incorporate them in to my drinking habits; maybe out of guilt of neglect. Amusingly, its not with dessert. I find maybe as a parting shot after a single malt kinda hits home. Right before that jug of water and bed after kicking people out.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#32 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » May 24th, 2020, 12:02 pm

Even for me, Riesling fanatic, finding a place for the truly sweet wines (GKA, BA, TBA, Eiswein) is difficult. Most of them end up being poured as a finishing wine at a tasting, and then I remember how good they are!

Laura and I try to open one during the mid-afternoon while we watch a football game every now and then. I used to serve them as a part of the cheese course when we were hosting geeky dinner parties. Doesn't happen much anymore.

Thankfully most top quality sweet wines are virtually immortal.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#33 Post by Rob M » May 24th, 2020, 12:08 pm

I like sweet wines but do rarely drink the heavier ones, although light low alcohol Moscato is something we end up drinking very quickly when I have bottles around the house.

I have never bought the wines to cellar yet as my impression is they are always on the market at cheap prices, even older vintages. When I want a few they are always for sale.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#34 Post by AAgrawal » May 24th, 2020, 12:26 pm

I consider my sweet/dessert consumption to be relatively high... I probably open ~30-35 half or full bottles of sauternes per year. I find that the young ones last in the fridge for a week (and often improve over that time), and I'm rarely disappointed when I open one. I never pair them with dessert unless I bring it to a tasting/dinner, and at home I'm almost always pairing with nuts/cheese or savory courses especially roast chicken. Seafood works well too. Really anything but a steak.

The Chateau Coutet website has some lovely recipes to pair with sauternes, if you need ideas.

My problem is not my rate of consumption, it is my rate of purchasing. These are such good values and I've loved them so much that I now have hundreds of bottles, and even I don't need that much. I've successfully reduced my purchases to almost zero over the past 1-2 years and need to drink at my normal rate for 4-5 years before it's a balanced portion of my cellar again...
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#35 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » May 24th, 2020, 12:36 pm

I have maybe a case or two of Sauternes and have been stuck at that for a long time because I never open them except at Thanksgiving to match with the pies. But I have been getting more into semi-sweet Loire Vouvray, like Huet. They are less viscous than Sauternes, with more acidic lift, and in my experience make a great match with spicy Indian or Thai food. Kind of along the same principle as Riesling. They are very well priced for the quality IME.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#36 Post by Markus S » May 24th, 2020, 12:43 pm

I've never bought that much quantity of desert wines, but do like them when the need arises.
I'm not sure where you live, but opening a Port when the weather has been sub-zero Fahrenheit just seems like the most civilized thing you can do. The good thing about desert wines is that many tend to last longer than their drier cousins, so they can be open for a week or so before noticeably going bad, and Madeira far longer than that. The best pairing for many is cheese imo.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#37 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 24th, 2020, 12:54 pm

BTW, I was not talking about Madeira or sherry here, or port, though I don't care for it particularly.

I love great Madeira and, though I don't open it that often either, never feel I have too much. Of course, I also have much less! But even there I prefer the drier styles like Sercial, Verdelho, Terrantez.
Last edited by Sarah Kirschbaum on May 24th, 2020, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#38 Post by Cris Whetstone » May 24th, 2020, 12:59 pm

Just to echo what Sarah is saying, fortified wines are a separate category for me. I do open a few of those per year. Usually in the winter. I will sip a bottle from the fridge over the course of a month. Give or take depending on the specific kind of wine. Madeiras, ruby Ports, tawny Ports, sweeter Sherries.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#39 Post by Jonathan Kalman » May 24th, 2020, 1:12 pm

Peter Kleban wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:35 am
Jonathan Kalman wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:31 am
I only have a few full size bottles and it is hard to find an occasion to open these. On the other hand 375's are ideal and we go through 10/12 a year.
Do you drink them with dessert, or in some other setting? Asking for a friend. [cheers.gif]
Sometimes with desert but not with anything too sweet because I find the combination cloying. This also depends on the wine. I recently bought some Framingham Noble Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand which had a lovely citrus and acid quality on top of an underlying creamy sweetness which combined well with desert but I prefer a classic Sauternes such as Rieussec with blue cheese either after a meal or as a snack while watching television.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#40 Post by Matthew Hemming » May 24th, 2020, 1:14 pm

I reckon I might have the opposite problem, Sarah. The collection is pretty small, maybe approaching 1,200 bottles, but I've not a single case of Sauternes and, other than some sweeter Riesling and a case of Huet 1ere Trie (probably oxidised) no dessert wine at all.

I am a fan of sweet wine, especially with age, so the plan is to back full with a case or two. Despite loving the wines, they will unlikely be drunk very quickly, but I would like to plug that gap in the cellar.

One of my wines of the year to date was Yquem 1959, out-shining Petrus 82 at the same dinner, sadly that will not be the case I buy!
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#41 Post by Eric Ifune » May 24th, 2020, 3:57 pm

With foie gras or cheese. Great to begin or end the meal.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#42 Post by Curtis Chen » May 24th, 2020, 4:04 pm

I actually popped my first dessert wine (an 01 Suduiraut) in god knows how long. Pretty unimpressive and only half the bottle got finished. Now I remember why I don't open them. :p
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#43 Post by Jud Reis » May 24th, 2020, 5:01 pm

Sarah - I find when I have a bigger group for dinner, 6 or more, it is the perfect occasion to open one, particularly with a group of non wine geeks. We usually will do it after dessert or as a dessert alternative for those who want it. I almost always find someone who insists they hate dessert wines and ends up loving it. Unfortunately, not sure at the moment when we will have that opportunity again. As those occasions are not a weekly occurrence even in normal times, I am not buying nearly as much Sauternes and other sweet wines as I used to.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#44 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » May 24th, 2020, 5:07 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 12:54 pm
BTW, I was not talking about Madeira or sherry here, or port, though I don't care for it particularly.

I love great Madeira and, though I don't open it that often either, never feel I have too much. Of course, I also have much less! But even there I prefer the drier styles like Sercial, Verdelho, Terrantez.
Madeira, talk about a long shelf life. I’ll buy the occasional auslese, but only one offs of truly sweet wines.

I like semi-sweet or sweet with cheese. I thought I gave up on bleu cheese, but some Roquefort from Artisanal was really good. Usually bleu gives me the soapy taste. I think I’ve had exactly one good sweet wine with dessert pairing and I love sweets, but not the real sugary stuff.
Edit: I really haven’t bought sweet wines since our move. I used to buy some ports and the Fenili from Corte Gardoni along with some Sauternes/Barsacs from Moore Brothers. I also haven’t bought much cognac since my favorite is Jean Filloux. I also like vermouth, chinato, good pineau des charentes, anything Vergano (the Luli is like exotic crack) and macvin.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#45 Post by Larry Stein » May 24th, 2020, 5:30 pm

I'm pretty much in the same camp. I very rarely drink sweet wine anymore. I have 10 cases of German Riesling and only 4 bottles (three 750s, one 375) are Auslese. Rest are Kab/Spat. I have 2 bottles of vintage Port. I open about one bottle a year. I purchased a case of '77 Dow on release and still have one bottle remaining. I own no Sauternes. I used to have 2-3 cases. If someone brings a bottle, I'll drink an ounce or two. That's about all I can stomach.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#46 Post by Lee Short » May 24th, 2020, 6:15 pm

Very similar for me -- I have a reasonable stock of them (though far from the 100s of bottles!), but rarely drink them. I think the last time I opened one was for a large gathering about a year ago -- it was a 96 Huet. The wine was stunning, and I thought to myself that I should open one again soon; I have cases of 96-97 Huet moulleux. But here we are, probably 15 months later, and I haven't opened another bottle of dessert wine.

Probably the last bottle of dessert wine I bought was a 2003 BA or TBA. There are probably 5 cases total in the cellar, and it will be enough to last me the rest of my life.

Port is in a different category for me. I probably open a couple of bottles every winter, to eat with toasted pecans.

But I just can't do Sauternes any more. The stuff just tastes like drinking a caramel. I hate caramel.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#47 Post by A.Gillette » May 24th, 2020, 6:39 pm

I love sweet wines. I buy a ton of auslese and drink them from half bottle all summer long as an aperitif. I buy anywhere from 6-24 bottles of TBA/BA per year but I open very few as I intend to age them. I buy a bit of eiswein for early drinking as I find that it tends not to improve or to fall apart completely far too often.
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#48 Post by David Lewin » May 24th, 2020, 7:01 pm

I have had to cut down on buying dessert wines and am now at roughly 230 bottles (was over 300 a few years ago and maybe 25 or so are marriage year and birth year wines for nephew and his daughter) and figure I need to drink a bottle a month for the rest of my life. I belong to three wine tasting groups and almost every dinner (and family gathering) ends with a bottle or two (sometimes two of us bring dessert wines, I usually do) and they are usually considered wines of the night my several of us. My collection has Auslesen, Sauternes, Ports, Lorires, and Alsatian (VT and SGN) in roughly that order. I started out liking Sauternes and Ports most, but have gravitated more to German and Loire.

I do not try to pair the wines with food other than cheese with a few exceptions. While I don't usually open them at home, my wife and I are at this moment drinking a half bottle of Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Jebsal VT (thanks Envoyer) with Indian food.

So for me it hasn't been a problem drinking them (at least until two months ago).
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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#49 Post by Br1an Th0rne » May 24th, 2020, 10:14 pm

The upside to sweet wines falling out of fashion is that they are quite inexpensive on the secondary market vis a vis their quality level. Just picked up pristine 750ml half cases of 1988 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey for $49 per bottle, and 1995 Château Coutet for $23. I imagine it will take several years to work through them all, but no rush.

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Re: Sweet/Dessert Wines - I Own them, but Never Open them

#50 Post by J. Rock » May 25th, 2020, 12:02 am

Speaking of dessert wines, I just had a 1983 Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel AP 17 and it was singing! Great wine. So much life and brightness, with layers and layers of complexity. Also, it was only mildly sweet at this point.
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