Sweet dessert wines aren't for everyone, and perhaps they're not for every night. But there are some moments when they are simply unbeatable.
Lurking in my fridge for several months, last weekend was finally the right time to open the half bottle of Andrew Quady's Californian Elysium Black Muscat. When better to open a wine that you drank at your wedding, which features a love heart on the label, than on Valetine's weekend?
Mr Purple Teeth and I first discovered the Black Muscat grape while on a trip to Sonoma around 10 years ago. It was love at first sip. It's rich, deep red colour and highly perfumed, aromatic flavours are just as heavenly as the name Elysium suggests. There's a hint of rose and some lychee fruit and of course some lovely red fruit. I often pair it with chocolate desserts, traditionally difficult to match with wine, but it can also work well with blue cheese, or raspberry/strawberry tarts, pavlovas or even just poured on some vanilla ice cream.
Frankly speaking, I often use dessert wine instead of dessert, though this time, I didn't go for the low calorie option.
Instead I paired with the exceptionally decadent Gü puddings' Gü-zillionaires Shortcake. Oh My! Perhaps not the best possible match due to the caramel flavours, but two delightful sweet treats side by side can't fail to please the sugar addict in me. And that pudding needs to be banned now to prevent my dentist becoming a millionaire.
Elysium is fortunately available a bit more widely these days. We had real difficulty sourcing it for our wedding, all those years ago. Prices differ greatly from £9.59 at StrictlyWine.co.uk (£6.99 shipping fee applies unless you're order is more than £225), to £12.41 via Amazon plus over £8 shipping. If you're a Londoner you can pop into Fortnum and Mason and pick it up for £12.50. It pays to shop around! Wherever you buy it, I really hope you'll be tempted to give this wine a try some time. You'll find it on menus in many fine dining restaurants too.
One of my less romantic wedding memories, where we served this with a hot chocolate fondant, is the collection of glasses of this lined up in front of the supposed non-wine-drinker in attendance. I think she polished off a full bottle. Now that's a recommendation you can trust.