Anthony Rose: Keep it sweet
PX is a unique Spanish sweet wine that I discovered a while ago, so sweet in fact that it resulted in me having to make a trip to the dentist. PX, or Pedro, short for Pedro Ximénez, is one of the darkest, richest, stickiest wines in the world and by rights shouldn't exist as a wine at all. Oozing with viscous sucrosity, it's the perfect blending sweetener, in small doses, for cream sherry and sweet oloroso. Did someone dunk a finger in a cask of Pedro one day and think "I could get a pat on the back from the mouthwash industry for bottling this on its own"?
Unlike the pet mouse in the González Byass bodega, which gets its own custom-built ladder to help it up to a gooey nightcap, I find most PX stickily sickly. When a judicious amount of acidity adds a nip of freshness, though, it can stand up to puddings, even chocolate, as in the case of the Gran Barquero Pedro Ximénez, £9.39, half-litre, Waitrose, the dark quintessence of liquid prunes from Montilla that coats the tongue with a malt-like syrupiness. I also have time for Emilio Lustau's Rare Pedro Ximénez, £7.49, Marks & Spencer, for its aromatic intensity and raisin and fig richness, delightfully saved by just enough acidity. Best of all, though, is to use it as a sauce for vanilla, coffee or chocolate ice-cream.
Blandy's must think that Madeira is a match for dark chocolate because they sent me a bar of Green & Blacks with a sample. They're not wrong. The Blandy's Alvada 5-Year-Old Rich, half-litre, around £12.99-£17.50, Waitrose, Booths, Harrods, exudes a smoky, coffee-like aroma and complementary raisined richness, but the best thing is Madeira's typically lively, citrus-zesty palate-cleansing tang on the aftertaste. In similar mould, but back in Spain, Lustau's Oloroso, Añada 97 Rich Oloroso, half-litre, £18.99-£25, thedrinkshop.com, Turton Wines (07791 751682), Corks Out (01928 531886), is full of the smoky scents of vanilla, prune and coffee with an intense, figgy, apricoty fruitiness and complex, walnutty depth.
A world apart for its delicately refreshing fruit, Germany's luscious sweet wines could hardly be more different. The 2010 Göttelman Dautenpflänzer Riesling Auslese, Nahe, half-litre, £24.99, Waitrose flagship stores, John Lewis, is irresistibly moreish sweet riesling of exceptional intensity and refreshing spritz in which essence of ripe peach dissolves into mouthwatering zest. Another rung on the stairway to heaven, the 2006 Wirsching 2006 Silvaner Beerenauslese, from Franconia, half-bottle, £39.50, Fortnum & Mason, is as wickedly decadent as it's frighteningly expensive, an immensely rich and luscious passion fruit and peach cordial of just 9.5 per cent alcohol, with the most trenchantly crisp, fresh aftertaste imaginable; the ultimate Easter bonnet.
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