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With autumn well and truly upon us, it’s time for big, hearty, warming wines with seasonal food to match. For mains, that means seasonal game dishes and stews - but spare a thought for filling, indulgent puddings with some bonfire night smoke, spice and warmth. If you need a wine to match to a sticky toffee pudding, treacle sponge or spotted dick, this unusual but delicious Pedro Ximénez might just might be the thing – I chose it as a match for a sticky toffee cheesecake recipe given to me by local Masterchef Finalist, Alex Rushmer who now runs The Hole in The Wall in Wilbraham (pictured left).
Alvear PX Solera 1927 Montilla , £12.99 (37.5cl) Cambridge Wine Merchants
Wines from Spain’s Pedro Ximénez (“PX”) grapes are about as sweet as they come and this one will stand up to the autumnal richness a treacle toffee cheesecake.
PX is most commonly used to add sweetness to dry oloroso to produce a sweet sherry but, as here, is occasionally made into a dessert wine in its own right.
It is made from superripe grapes that have then been dried out on straw mats to intensify the flavours; more unusually, it is also made in a solera, like a dry sherry, that in this case dates back to 1927.
It is a dark mahogany, thick and treacly on pouring – you really won’t need much of this – and has aromas of cooked mixed fruit, dried figs, dates and prunes with hints of dark chocolate, molasses and roasted nuts on the nose.
On the palate it is concentrated and mouthfilling with raisiny fruit and enough fresh acidity to match the sweetness.
The long finish adds hints of bitter aromatics and dark spices from aging in oak.
Cambridge Wine Merchants – http://www.cambridgewine.com/
The Hole in the Wall – http://www.holeinthewallcambridge.co.uk/
Copyright Tom Lewis 2011
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About the Author: Tom Lewis is a wine writer and educator from Cambridge with a particular interest in Austria and France. His comments have been published on JancisRobinson.com, Local Wine Events, as well as in the local press in his hometown of Cambridge, UK. When it comes to buying wine, Tom’s philosophy is to buy as close as possible to where it comes from. He writes a regular blog, the Cambridge Wine Blogger which launched in 2009 and is a presenter for the Cambridge Food and Wine Society. To read more of Tom’s work, please check out cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.com