Rob and I started our business because we had discovered the most amazing wine after we had eaten a meal in a village in Le Marche, Italy. To be honest I can't really remember now which village it was when we had our first taste because after that we went and actively sought out this wine whenever we went out to eat. In many cases it was made by a member of the family who owned the restaurant because most restaurants are small family run concerns with supporting staff and the owners have some land where they grow fruit.
So what was this wine? We made up our minds that this wine could form the basis of our new business but that's a story for another blog! It has a couple of names-Vino di Visciola or Visciolata and its principal ingredients are visciola cherries -little intense sour cherries which are a regional fruit. They are a bit like morello cherries but smaller. Many families have a visciola tree in their garden and typically the nonna (grandma) will make the drink for the family. Some families use just the cherries; others add a red wine to their recipe. But this wine (because sugar is added) is technically a dessert wine although not tasting very sweet. So typically you will drink it with your fruity or chocolatey desserts because as we all know chocolate and cherries together are a perfect match. In Italy the wine is also used as a vino da meditazione (literally translated as a meditation wine) and people will sit and relax early evening with a plate of cantucci and the drink just chatting and having some serious thinking conversations.
But back to the question-why don't we drink more dessert wines? There are lots of possible reasons.
If I go by my own habits my reason would be that I have simply drunk enough during the meal before I get to the dessert. My capacity for drinking is limited so instead of having that great feeling from drinking some alcohol I get to the stage of "that's it don't overdo it Jane". So when I get to the dessert it's too late! The answer for me there is not to drink with my starter and main course or just very little so I can enjoy my cherry-infused wine and the go to one for me is of course our Visciolata del Cardinale.
Some people believe dessert wines are just too sickly but not this one. If you like eating desserts why wouldn't you like drinking a dessert wine? I think some people kid themselves they don't like desserts but somehow offer them a delicious piece of cake or chocolate they may tell you "I don't usually eat desserts but......" we tease our son Alex who has this deluded belief and he certainly enjoys our cherry wine! Sure some dessert wines can be sickly for some palates but Visciolata being made with sour and not sweet cherries doesn't taste sickly but rich and very cherryish. Of course like all wines it has sugar in it but our customers when we do tastings frequently tell us "this wine doesn't taste as sweet as I thought it would." It's sweet to start with but the aftertaste is dry.
Some people may think dessert wines will make them fat as they are sweet. But with Visciolata you just don't need to drink much. Its 14% ABV so you get the alcohol and to be honest our producers the Cardinali family say you can get 10 glasses from a 50cl bottle so that's 50ml a glass and if you sip it slowly and savour the aroma and the taste you really don't need more. Less is more as we all know!
Lots of people think Visciolata is a fortified wine which is drunk before a meal like a sherry and they believe that they only drink fortified wines. To them I say go on try this one with your meal and you won't regret it!
People just aren't used to thinking in terms of ordering another wine with their dessert. Often their main meal wine is left in the bottle and that would be extravagant to order more so they continue drinking the same wine with their dessert which in reality may not make a great pairing. For this reason I suggest that people buy wines by the glass-maybe more expensive but gives you the opportunity when dining out to experiment with wines and if you are going the three course way splurge out on two or three wines and make the night a real occasion. In this Covid 19 era unfortunately we can't do this but we can spoil ourselves in our own homes and turn a meal into a special meal with some great wine.
So make a decision and buy some Visciolata del Cardinale on line and you will see, smell and taste what I am talking about! A great dessert wine simple should not be ignored!