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Wine expert Lars Snavely joined SOHO’s team a few months back and has been enhancing our wine knowledge – and palates – ever since. This week, he’s shared a few insights on dessert wines.


Dessert wines are often expensive because producing a dessert wine requires concentrated juice with plenty of natural sugars. The grapes for dessert wine production must be very small. Therefore, more grapes are needed to produce the wines. Birds and weather also make producing dessert wines expensive. Birds love to eat the sweet grapes and, because the grapes have to stay on the vines longer, there’s a chance of killing frosts and too much rain, which causes the grapes to swell. All these factors lead to the higher cost of dessert wines.


Despite their expense, almost all wine producing countries produce dessert wines. The most famous, and costly, are from Bordeaux’s Sauternes regions. One very good, and affordable, dessert wine from France is the Chateau Doisy -Vedrines Sauternes. Another region of France well-known for dessert wines is Alsace. The Tribach Vendanges Tardives (or late harvest) wines are well-regarded.


California also produces many dessert wines, often using the Black Muscat grape. Robert Mondavi’s 2006 Moscato d’Oro is a good dessert wine from California – it is produced with the Muscat Canelli grape.


 Muscat (post)  Muscat Canelli grapes on the vine


Finally, consider a dessert wine from Hungary. In Hungary, the sweetness and quality of the wines are designated as 3, 4, 5 and 6 puttonyos. Puttonyos are the containers the harvested grapes fill as they are being picked. The numbers refer to how many puttonyos it takes to fill a 136 liter barrel. The more it takes - the smaller the grapes, thus the wine is more intense and sweeter. Lars recommends a five-puttonyo wine. Royal Tokaji’s Aszu 5 Puttonyos wine is one good choice.


We hope you’ll stop in soon to sample SOHO’s wine list – whether looking for a Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc or dessert wine, we have something to suit your palate!