Pairing cheesecakes and wine: seven sweet wonders of the world
What’s better, to finish in big way a Super Bowl party, than a cheesecake slice accompanied by a great sweet wine? Passito or raisin or strew wines are a great tradition of Italy, every region has at least one, produced from an indigenous grape. You will be spoiled for the choice: with or without bubbles, Sauternes style, from late harvest, botrytized wine, Marsala, and the other wines fortified with alcohol, red and white, but today we will focus on raisin wines, the most suitable for taming cheesecake.
Just keep in mind that luckily cheesecake has a very fatty and intense texture, so the wine you are going to pair must have great body, saltiness, and acidity to not be overwhelmed by a massive milky attack. And, as always, keep in mind that the wine must be sweeter than the dessert itself.
Vallèe d’Aoste Chaudelune Vendemmia tardiva 2012
This wonderful winery produces exclusively Priè Blanc, an Aosta Valley native vine that few winegrowers keep alive. This raisin wine is amazing, surrounded by a great acidity that will cut the puffy body of the greasiest cheesecakes. There is an alpine saltiness too, very refined and smooth, perfect for the salty and sweet flavor of our dessert. Now let’s spend some words for the glaze. If it’s caramel made, is perfect for the nuances of walnuts, burnt sugar, and butter of the wine. If it’s made of citrus, again is perfect, because of the caramelized orange peel nuances you can catch here and there. Anyway, this wine is so persistent and exciting—lots of medicinal herbs—that is shockingly good also by itself. Immortal.
Loazzolo Vendemmia tardiva 2010
Although Piedmont is known for its sparkling Moscato, we have chosen this straw version of this noble grape, two years of barrique. A precious and rare nectar with a compelling mellowness, but there isn’t only sugar, because the sweetness is expressed through notes of honey, vanilla, nougat, candied cedar culminating in a fine finish of almond and broom. Tasty, velvety, however, it doesn’t lack a bold body to face up the fattiest cheesecake. It will last for 15 years.
Vertemate Passito 2011
From Valtellina, a well-studied wine, balanced (aromatic Traminer and Riesling), juicily salty, deliciously sweet, persistent, and with a neat finish that makes you want to drink again and again. Did we find the perfect sweet wine? Unfortunately not, but it was made with the utmost care and the result is stylistically perfect. Its aromas range from dried flowers and peaches, sultanas, date, walnuts, and hazelnuts dipped in a sea of honey, with a hint of butter and rosemary, but to be sincere, something is missing, maybe a little bit more of passion. A cheesecake with a glaze of citrus or plum or apricot would be a dream.
Alto Adige Moscato Rosa 2011
Franz Haas’s masterpiece. A wine that seduces for being not sweet. Or better, you can taste the sugar, but it has taken a back seat in this sumptuous symphony of black currant syrup, wild strawberries, cinnamon, pepper, and cloves, played in a rose garden that is a whirlwind of blossoms and fragrances of any kind. Extremely elegant, savory, the best Moscato Rosa (Rosenmuskateller) that you can find in the world. Drink it alone, sitting in the dark, listening to the J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier or with the people you love, but, please, do yourself a favor and drink this Moscato Rosa. To pair with a cheesecake with raspberries and rose glaze.
Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Le Calcarole 2010
A sensational sweet wine. Despite having a considerable amount of sugar, are the delicate flavors, fruity and floral, emerge. The color is inky purple, velvety, and mesmerizing. Blackberries and wild cherries in alcohol, accompanied by balsamic drops of herbal infusion. Licorice, coffee, cocoa powder, all blended in a zesty stream of flavors highlighted by a soft tannin. Ideal for cheesecakes with bitter icing, like extra bitter chocolate or licorice.
Colli Orientali Del Friuli Cialla Picolit 2011
This wine is an icon of its stunning terroir. Since medieval times Picolit was a regal gift, exchanged in small ampoules precious as gold. Tastefully mellow, fragrant, with a golden color flecked of amber nuances. Peach, apricot, lavender, coconut, vanilla, and date, all under a silky veil of honey; walnuts, and hazelnuts in a supporting role, to dignify the sweetness. The saltiness is refreshing with a hint of cedar, iodine, and rosemary, giving great elegance to this nectar that should be paired with a cheesecake with a glaze of figs and chocolate to harmonize the texture of the wine.
Albana di Romagna Passito Arrocco 2012
A great botrytized wine from Romagna. A complex and floral nose that starts slowly to open up reaching a terrifying crescendo. The bouquet gets more and more caramelized, adding ethereal layers of dried fruits and spices. Fig jam, apricot in alcohol, a marine breath of iodine, medical herbs, a soft hint of mold, ginger, saffron dipped into honey, candied peels of every existing citrus, and we could go on for hours… The palate is smooth and persistent as the bouquet, stimulating, with a tangy saltiness that keeps under control every wave of this sea of sweetness. A dream coming true. It can take care of big, nasty cheesecake with caramelized orange glaze and cinnamon.