Now that the nip is still in the air, taste buds crave something intense and there’s nothing quite as comforting as a nice glass of sweet wine with a scrumptious dessert.

Moscato usually is a safe bet with desserts.Moscato usually is a safe bet with desserts.

Finding the right combination isn’t too difficult as long as you follow a few basic directions or, easier still, heed the sommelier’s recommendation when dining out.

There are no rights, no wrongs and no absolutes, but there’s one rule that always holds good: drink sweet wines with sweet food.

The most useful guideline is that the sweetness of the dessert needs to be matched in the wine. Your wine choice should be sweeter than the food rather than the other way round; otherwise the wine will probably taste thin, tart and mean. This is the overriding principle and it’s more important than balancing the weight of wine and food, which still deserves thought.

Also consider whether the dessert is tangy and fruity or rich and creamy. Tangier fruit-based afters call for a sharper-edged wine with a similarly fair level of fresh acidity, while creamier ones like tiramisu, profiterole and crème brûlée require a softer wine.

Because of their noticeable sweetness and heavy mouth-coating texture, chocolatey desserts can be challenging to marry. Accompanying wines must be equally sweet, of course, but also powerful enough to stand up to this double whammy; they also need to be full-bodied and high in alcohol.

In practice, labels rarely spell out the bottle’s actual sweetness. So, it’s a matter of knowing your sweet wines. If you aren’t au fait, bear in mind that wines made from the Muscat or Moscato variety are usually a very safe bet.

The grape has great affinity for chocolate. And, even when it’s served with ice cream, which has a numbing effect sufficient to kill most wines, rest assured that nothing wipes out a wine like Malta’s fortified Moscato in Delicata’s Grand Vin de Hauteville range, not even the potent flavour of rum-flavoured sweets.

Delicata’s liqueur wine weighs in at 16% alc/vol. and eyes bright and honey-coloured. Its fresh nose is evocative of ripe pear, blood-orange rind and cinnamon. It tastes suavely viscous with delicate but impressive treacly sweetness and oodles of marmalade apricots refreshed by a limey lift of acidity in the finish.

Delicata’s Grand Vin de Hauteville Moscato is only produced in the best harvest years. The wine’s 2017 vintage has just been released in Malta and Gozo and comes in a 50cl bottle for those diners who wish to enjoy a little more than the typical by-the-glass measure recommended by wine stewards and sommeliers.

Georges Meekers is Delicata’s head of sales and an award-winning wine writer.

Imminent release of Medina Red DOK Malta wines

The 2018 vintage of the red DOK Malta wines in Delicata’s Medina range are ready to hit the home market.

While the white and rosé wines are already available for purchase, customers have had to wait for their favourite Medina DOK Malta reds since the law doesn’t allow them to be released before today – even if the wines are ready.

Medina is a collection of 11 unoaked, fruity boutique wines made from hand-picked grapes. The range consists of four blends and seven mono-varietals.

The blends comprise the pair of two white wines, one made from Chardonnay with Malta’s native Girgentina and another one from Vermentino with Zibibbo, a dry rosé blend of Grenache and Cabernet, and a vibrant red wine of the three varieties Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre.

The seven single varietals are a 100 per cent Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sangiovese and Ġellewża.

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