What’s for dessert? No matter how many courses there may be for a meal, whether it be 2 or 8, I always look forward to the dessert or pudding (as they call it here in England) course. An amusing story regarding the word”pudding”. Years ago when I first came to London from California, fresh out of university, I got a job as a waitress in the West End. One night an English customer asked me if we had any puddings. I replied, unwittingly, I should add, “I’m sorry sir, but we don’t have any pudding. We do however have some very nice desserts.” Needless to say, he gave me a very strange look. At the time I didn’t realize that “pudding” was the English version of what we call “dessert” in the States. Pudding in America denotes something like a tapioca pudding, not as creamy as a mousse but similar. “Two countries divided by a common language,” indeed!
After a rather delicious lunch of tapas at The Providores not long ago, Vintage Macaroon (pictured) and I were debating what to have for dessert. Rather then sharing a dessert we ended up with two desserts and two wines! Yes, we are greedy and insatiable. We’d had a bottle of riesling with lunch so we carried on with a racy New Zealand botrytised riesling from Forrest Estate and a Noble semillon from Pegasus Bay. I enjoyed the semillon but the real stand out for me was the riesling.
Forrest Estate has an interesting story. It’s a winery that was founded by two Drs., John and Brigid Forrest, one a molecular biologist and the other a medical doctor, who chucked it all in to try their hand at winemaking. As they say on their site, they did it because they wanted “…a mixture of the wine ‘passion’ and a desire to achieve and be recognised and rewarded for ones efforts. In hindsight we struck upon a career which suits our personalities – a perfect blend of art and science…” The doctors bought a vineyard in Marlborough in the Wairau River Vallely where they produce their scrumptious, voluptuous botrytised riesling.
The grapes come from three different vineyards in the region, two of which have stoney, gravely soils and the other crushed stones and clay mixed together. These two different soils give the wines their distinctive profile. The former, crisp acidity and citrus aromas and the latter, a pure spiciness and stone fruit flavours. Harvest occurs 4 – 8 weeks after the regular harvest and usually, depending on the climate variations of the year, 40-90% of the grapes have botrytis. A quick side note, botrytis is a fungal disease that affects grapes left on the vine too long. Although it attacks the grapes and makes them shrivel, the result is a pure concentration of sweet fruit whilst still retaining high acidity.
The 2006 Forrest Estate botrytised Riesling certainly had that zippy acidity running through it. I love the combination of sweet, rich wine with that time delay of acidity that really gets your mouth watering. The ’06 had developed those secondary characteristics of truffle and a certain earthiness but still had quite a bit of fruit character, limes, apricots and tangerines being predominate both on the nose and palate. There was also a sweet toffee note and more oranges, this time, candied oranges sprang to mind. Matched with the mint, chocolate chip and raspberry Arctic Roll with riesling poached fruit, was fantastic. It was like eating an alcoholic orange creamsicle. A dessert for grownups. It would have been a most satisfying way to end the afternoon but we just had to stop off for a glass of champagne on the way home. Well, it was Friday!