The sunbaked white chalk slopes of Ispica, with palms, exotic Arabian architecture, and warm sea breezes, are the backdrop for this ambrosial nectar that has been produced and enjoyed here in some form for millennia. Simply divine is probably the best tasting note. Contrary to many of the darker, higher-alcohol, thicker Moscatos produced in Sicily—in Pantelleria and Lipari, for example— this one is fresh and vibrant, with great acidity and a dry, cleansing finish. It is not fortified or made from dried grapes. Think Vouvray Moelleux or Jurançon in terms of balance, yet with uniquely Sicilian flavors. The fruits, spices, and perfume are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Enjoy Notissimo poured over a bowl of fresh fruit, with a fruit tart, or sip a chilled glass solo as dessert.
The Roûmieu-Lacoste is a ravishing beast, its decadent sweetness matched only by its refreshing acidity. The excellent balance and dazzling complexity make it a thrill to drink now and a sure thing for the cellar. Don’t underestimate the number of occasions this beauty will serve you. It is a habit-forming apéritif with or without foie gras. It marries better with cheeses than most reds, and the French are known to admire it with Sunday’s roast chicken. Try it with shucked oysters for the most unlikely of revelations. And with dessert? Yes. As dessert? Yes.
The ancient art of Banyuls is disappearing at a frightening pace. One of its great champions and longest-standing practitioners is the wonderful, charismatic Vincent Cantié. He is the spirit of Catalan culture personified, and he makes the best Banyuls money can buy. Made from ripe Grenache picked from steep, stony hillsides above the Mediterranean on the Spanish border, Banyuls is muted with neutral alcohol to stop fermentation and preserve some residual sugar to produce a glorious after-dinner drink. Its best friend is probably a walnut tart or a flourless chocolate cake. Thomas Jefferson loved Banyuls and so can you.
The Leydiers at Domaine de Durban are particularly proud of their Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, a vin doux naturel, as they are among the last to craft it in the traditional style. The old-fashioned vinification keeps the spirits as low as possible, so that they may hold on to the bright freshness in the grapes. One can find more powerful Muscats, but none as tasty and fine.
Ask anyone who has worked at KLWM for over twenty years to name their favorite wine from Kermit’s legendary cellar and you will get the same response: the 1947 Moelleux from Épiré. The aromas are too abundant to name, their beauty and intrigue unparalleled in the wine world. Here is your chance—if you can be patient—to create some of the most exciting memories of your wine life.
These are the grapes that made it far enough to make a “sweet wine,” but not close to the level of concentration one would need for a Sauternes. The grapes were “saved from the water,” as another deluge right after they were picked would have made them practically unusable. Don’t get the wrong idea—Daniel, perfectionist that he is, still eliminated a ton of grapes and even a few barrels before arriving at a wine that he was comfortable releasing under his own label. This wine has a profile closer to a Vouvray Moelleux. You’ll find the aromas very Sauternes-like but without the same concentration or level of residual sugar. The result is a wine with the character of Sauternes that is much more versatile at table. These could both be firsts and lasts, so don’t miss the opportunity to taste them!
Vermentino thrives around the coastal town of Alghero in northwest Sardinia, giving beautifully perfumed wines hinting at wildflowers, Mediterranean herbs, and briny sea breezes. While the Bardino family of Vigne Rada focuses primarily on a mouth-coating, mineral-driven dry Vermentino, they also dabble in the art of passito from late-harvest grapes shriveled up on the vine due to botrytis. With a delightfully cleansing acidity, this masterpiece retains all the brightness needed to refresh, while a luscious mouthfeel and hints of honey make this an indulgent treat. Terroir has the last word, as a noteworthy salinity reminds us of the nearby Mediterranean.
Barolo Chinato was once peddled as a cure-all elixir, said to heal miscellaneous daily discomforts. Appropriately, the ingredients in the Fantino brothers’ Chinato read like a potions book: there’s Calissaja Quinine, Genziana, Colombo, and Centaurea. The details are intriguingly vague—Italian legislation insists that the vintage of the wine remain unknown, and herb sources are a guarded family secret. The result is a deliciously aromatized Barolo, fascinating and complex with a long, herbal finish. Though medical claims were long ago dispelled, this can still be honestly touted as the ideal digestivo.
Kick your shoes off, Have no fear, Pass that bottle over here.
You are in for one of the most luxurious, delicious moments of your wine-drinking career. Settle in with a friend, someone with whom you can concentrate on this very special experience. By the way, once it’s uncorked, you can return to enjoy the wine during several days. There is not another wine anywhere like this one.
In the Jura village of Nevy-sur-Seille, François Rousset-Martin exhibits skilled artistry to craft wines in many styles from the stunning vineyards around Château-Chalon. The latest marvel to come out of his cellar is this dessert wine from Chardonnay grapes dried for several months in wood crates, then pressed and aged for five years in barrel without topping-up. It is richly concentrated and yet boasts a lively acidity, while the aromatics will take you for a psychedelic ride. This Jurassic delicacy it is truly one of a kind.