As shelves groan with decadent sweet wines, let's devote the final pre-Christmas column to those with a sweet tooth.
Kicking off on a quasi-religious note, I commend, as much for the spirit as the palate, a 'holy wine': 2008 Crociano Vin Santo di Montepulciano, £19.49, half-bottle, Waitrose, a mocha-scented Tuscan confection, saturated in dried fruits and nuts that genuflects deeply to the Christmas pud. What will also work well is the unctous De Bortoli Show Liqueur Muscat, £13.99, Tesco; or the treacle-like Morrison Signature PX, £5.99, half-bottle; if they don't float your boat, try the 2013 GD Vajra Moscato, £11.67-£14.95, winetrust100, Lea & Sandeman.
Also seasonal is ice wine, made from grapes frozen on the vine. The 2013 Huber Icewein Riesling Traisental, £28, half-bottle, Oddbins, delivers the intense, crystallised pineapple and acidity to complement blue cheese. The pricier 2010 Hans Lang Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Eiswein, £45, half-bottle, Waitrose, has a razor-sharp richness and practically oozes sensuality. The heavenly Cape never freezes over, so let Paul Cluver's rich, lime-citrusy 2013 Noble Late Harvest Riesling, £14.99, Marks & Spencer, half-bottle, warm the soul instead.
Lovers of sauternes will smack their lips over Château Suduiraut's 2008 Castelnau de Suduiraut, £16, half-bottle, Oddbins, a fresh peach and pear-rich bordeaux with knife-blade acidity. Or indeed, its rich tropical-citrus-zesty counterpart in the 2001 Château de Cérons, £23, Berry Bros. The Loire's chenin blanc credentials are on display with the 2006 Château Pierre-Bise Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu, £17, Marks & Spencer, which tastes roughly like apples dipped in honey. The Eastern European version is Hunagrian Tokaji. Try either the marmaladey 2009 The Royal Tokaji Blue Label 5 Puttonyos, £12.29, 25cl, Waitrose, or the smoky, quince-like 2008 Château Pajzos Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos, £18.99, 50cl, Aldi. Both will work superbly with blue cheese, Vacherin or mild goat's cheese.
In terms of port, it would be hard to beat the raisin and nut-rich Maynard's 30 Year old Tawny, £29.99, Aldi, stylishly presented in a ship's decanter and own wooden box. Unless, that is, you're looking at an amazing-value caramel-rich KWV Cape Tawny, £9.99, Marks & Spencer. For a terrific vintage port marriage with Stilton or Cashel Blue, try the spicy, blackberryish 2003 Sandeman Vau Vintage, £17, case of 6, Tesco. Or the prune-rich 1999 Warre's Quinta do Cavadinha, £25-£26.99, Waitrose, Morrisons, or else the still vigorously youthful, 2001 Graham's Quinta dos Malvedos, £22-£27, Tanners, Sainsbury's.Reuse content