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Sugar And Spice And All Things Nice by Billy McMaugh


ell it’s February already, what happens in February? Firstly, it is the best month to detox as it has only 29 days. Why be like the Roman Catholics and give something up in Lent, which lasts 40 days? February is also the month most loved by the Hallmark greeting card company as it contains Val- entines Day on the 14th. Nearly as many cards are exchanged on this single day as in the whole Christmas and New Year period combined.


W


So, if you haven’t decided to go alcohol-free for the month and are not planning on getting your partner fuelled by alcohol in the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures on the 14th, what wine can you match with the traditional Valen-


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tines Day gift of chocolates? Why not try a dessert wine? These wines cover a number of styles and include botrytis, which is a fungus commonly called noble rot that attacks the berries and draws the moisture out leav- ing a shrivelled grape, which is very sweet and intense in flavour. The resultant wines have a deep gold colour and rich sweet flavour with a sharp acidic finish. These wines are usually drunk to accompany desserts but also partner blue or soft cheeses very well. The best styles of these are made from either the Riesling or Semillon grape.


If the label says ‘late harvest’ you will find that the wine also shows some of these rich sweet and juicy characteristics. The


main thing to remember is that the wine needs to be sweeter than the dessert or the choco- lates. If this is not the case then the wine may taste dull and acidic. Remember, you must decide which is more important, the wine or the chocolates. Other notable styles of sweeter wines include Moscato, a still or lightly sparkling wine that tends to be a little lower in alcohol than the rest, and fortified wines like Sherry, Port and Muscat, which also match the occasion and are not just something that your grandparents drink (or used to drink back in the day).


It’s a case of, ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’ - maybe there was something in those old nursery rhymes after all!


the Beast • 93


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