Sauternes, the sweet wine nectar from the Graves region in Bordeaux. This wine could be your dessert, and I promise you, you and your friends/family would be in a pure blissful state of happiness. However, it is the holidays, and this is the season to indulge so, how do you pair your Sauternes with dessert?
Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, better known to some as “noble rot.” The result is wine that is sweet, full-bodied with layers of exotic fruit, spices, honey, nuts and balanced with a refreshing acidity.
How to Pair Sauternes with Dessert
Rule #1 – The Sauternes must be sweeter or equal to the sweetness of your dessert otherwise your wine will taste piquant and sour.
Rule #2 – Echo the fruit flavors in the Sauternes with a fruit component in your dessert for example; apricot, mango, or citrus. (Keeping in mind the level of sweetness in the wine versus the sweetness of your fruit)
Rule #3 – Add some complementary flavors that may be found from the oak aging of the wine; vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, or toffee.
Rule #4 – The Botrytis (noble rot) can translate in the wine with notes of spice or honey characteristics, again echo those flavors in your dessert.
Keeping with all my “rules,” for pairing Sauternes with dessert, I paired the 2011 Château Guiraud Sauternes with a ricotta cheesecake with a dried fruit compote and an almond biscotti. The Guiraud Sauternes is a full-bodied wine with notes of apricot, orange blossom, honey, and spice. The creamy smooth texture of the cheesecake, the dried fruit flavors in the compote, hints of vanilla, orange and spice are all echoed in the wine. The addition of an almond biscotti heightens an almond component detected in the wine and added a contrasting texture.
Ricotta Cheesecake with Dried Fruit Compote
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 12 oz. cream cheese
- 1 lb. whole-milk ricotta, drained if wet my favorite ricotta is Calabro
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 oranges, zested
- 3/4 cup Dried Fruit Compote (recipe follows)
- Almond Biscotti for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. If using a nonstick 9-inch springform cake pan, butter the bottom and sides. (If NOT using a nonstick springform pan, butter bottom and sides then line bottom with parchment paper and butter parchment paper.)
- With a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and ricotta together until smooth. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and with a sharp knife, scrape the vanilla seeds out and add to cheese mixture.
- With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar. Beat until smooth and light. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the dough down in between each egg. Add the orange zest and mix to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cheesecake is just set. Cheesecake should be a little jiggly. As soon as you remove the cheesecake from the oven, gently run a knife around the cake pan edge - this prevents the cheesecake from sticking to the sides which can result in the top cracking. Cool in pan and then refrigerate in the springform pan for at least 4 hours.
- Serve the cheesecake with dried fruit compote and an almond biscotti
Dried Fruit Compote
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 lb. mixed dried fruit, I used; apricots, blueberries, cherries, golden raisins, Thompson raisins, prunes (quarter apricots and half the prunes)
- 2 strips orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- juice from half an orange
- juice from one small lemon
- Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds and put in a medium saucepan along with the vanilla pod. Add sugar and 2 cups of water.
- Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When sugar is dissolved, add dried fruit and cinnamon stick to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat and then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add orange and lemon juice. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To learn more about Sauternes, read my fellow #winophile’s blog posts~
Discovering Maury AOC with Susannah at Avvinare
Quince Crumble with Lillet Blanc Cordials created by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
2011 Châteu Grand-Jauga Sauternes presented by Amber at Napa Food and Vine
The Sweet Secret of Barsac: Château Doisy-Daëne #Winophiles comes from Lynn at Savor the Harvest
Revealing Roussillon’s Sweeter Side from Michelle at Rockin Red Blog
When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Sauternes with Jeff at FoodWineClick!
Here at L’Occasion we tuck into Dessert Wines from Southern France