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  Editorial Issue 132, September 2014   
What About Sweets?What About Sweets?  Contents 
Issue 131, Summer 2014 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 133, October 2014

What About Sweets?


 Everyone has his or her own tastes, and this also includes wine, and this is, of course, normal and desirable. Preferences for the many styles of wines - like already said in the past - continuously change over time, also being unavoidably affected by fads, social and cultural trends. Whites, reds, sparkling, roses and sweets, all of them had their moments of glory as well as moments of lesser splendor. Cycles repeating over time and today, it seems like so, the interest of consumers is mainly for red wines despite whites are trying to catch the favor of wine lovers back. Even sparkling and rose wines - despite in a lesser extent - have taken their revenge, not as strong as the one of whites and reds, but in certain moments they proved to be pretty good contenders, in particular bubbles. The ones evidently having a very hard time in getting the favor of consumers are sweet wines.


 

 I admit I have pretty particular preferences and tastes - including about wine - and sometimes I am in counter-tendency to fads and the trends of the moment, nevertheless I have always had an endless passion for sweet and fortified wines. I do not think I am a sort of paladin, taking up the cause of the weaker - sweet wines, in this case - I simply believe these nectars, a word I find to be absolutely appropriate in this case, represent the apotheosis of sensorial emotions. Endless symphonies of aromas and flavors, it would in fact be limited and banal to consider these wines for their simple and superficial quality represented by sweetness. Their production and the use of dried grapes give in fact these wines extraordinary and complex sensorial qualities, something very hard - if not impossible - to perceive in any other style of wine. Sweet wines, including fortified ones, are enological monuments, heritage of a very long tradition man has realized with vine and grape.

 We may also think the current taste of people is not interested in sweetness, nevertheless the consumption of sweet foods is very high. Sugar, in all of its endless forms, is virtually found in every food, also added to those in which we would not expect to find it. If we simply read the labels of many commercial foods and beverages, we can easily spot the presence of sugar, in its many forms, it is virtually found everywhere. It seems humans love sweetness and they do appreciate it even in the so called salty foods: our diet is invaded by sugar. According to this logic, sweet wine would seem to be considered among the most preferred ones: on the contrary, sweet and fortified wines - by using producers' words - are very hard to sell. The production is among the most complex and critical ones, an effort which is not paid back by the market.

 It must be said, in fact, in past times sweet wines - quality sweet wines, of course - have literally made wine lovers dream, these nectars were usually found in the tables of the well-off and noble people. They therefore were expensive and looked for wines: characteristics they still have today in most of the cases. I asked myself many times whether price should be considered the main responsible for the scarce appreciation of these wines in consumers. This can certainly be one of the many factors, it can also be an important one, but I do not think it is the main one. People - talking in general terms - simply do not like them, sometimes they even admit these wines cannot meet their taste anyway. To put it in simple words, they do not like them. It can be because of their sweetness, something being - evidently - so distant and different from the masculine character of certain reds, frequently considered as the “real wine” by connoisseurs.

 It should be said not every sweet wine is a nectar worth of attention and respect. For the sake of truth, there are many sweet wines which cannot exactly be considered amazing, result of awkward and pale wine making attempts and of doubtful quality. The opposite is true as well, as there are many out there of monumental and magnificent quality. Extraordinary examples of noble and impeccable elegance, inexorably humiliated by the market. The same is true for fortified wines, a style I endlessly love just like sweet wines. Maybe it is because they are usually made from dried grapes, giving to some the idea of dead grape, indeed these wines have a lively and indispensable crispness, making them absolutely alive. Wine of huge complexity - from appearance to taste - their life is in continuous evolution, a sort of challenge with time, during which they get better and richer.

 The great and unforgettable Gino Veronelli - the great Italian wine writer - invented a term capable of fully describing the sumptuousness and magnificence of these nectars, by calling them “meditation wines”. A term he used not only for sweet wines but it let everyone understand these wines required a lot of attention in order to be understood and enjoyed, while giving back endless emotional and sensorial satisfaction. It could then be a matter of superficiality. Consumers can be easily charmed by the appearance and immediate simplicity of certain wines, while considering too much demanding listening to the glass, not only at an emotional level, but also analytically, critically and consciously. Maybe we all are too busy in chasing our superficial frenzy, while forgetting that, sometimes, slowness is a great master of life giving us a better awareness of ourselves and of the world. In this superficial social logic, it may be complex and complicated sweet and fortified wines do not have their place anymore, as we are probably looking for our satisfaction in the simple and not demanding immediateness. Everything, all at once and easily, without the effort of thinking about it so much. Whatever will be, will be: I however keep on meditating in the beauty of my beloved sweet and fortified wines.

Antonello Biancalana






   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 132, September 2014   
What About Sweets?What About Sweets?  Contents 
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