RKS Wines: To Canadians (and the world) There is More Than Icewine!

To many Canadians the ultimate “dessert wine” might be Icewine from Niagara. It is awfully good but correspondingly expensive.

Muscat vines in Samos: Photo Robert K. Stephen

There are alternatives at a more friendly price point that are not “copies” of Icewine but similar on the “sweet scale” and cheaper.

For example, there are the legendary sweet white wines from the Northern Aegean Greek Island of Samos that have been famous for several hundred years but mention them to Canadians and they will have glassy eyes. Samos Vin Doux for 750 mL sells for $15.95 and Moscatel de Setúbal from Portugal for 750 mL sells for $14.95.

How about the Moscatel de Setúbal which is vintage dated 2017 whilst the Samos Vin Doux is not vintage dated?

The Setúbal is a golden brown with orange tinges. Its nose is loaded with apricot, honey, marmalade and a whisper of banana. Rich and decadent. On the palate full of amber honey and jam packed with apricot. A short finish. Not over the top heavy and at 17% you will feel no alcohol heat. Perfectly constructed but mention a Portuguese sweet wine and the dazed and confused look will radiate like a Led Zeppelin song of the same name.

Interesting what you might pair this with. It might suit a pasteis de nates Portuguese egg custard tart or a flan. Yet it might suit a starter cheese plate of semi soft cheeses with nuts and Niagara Greaves peach jam, honey or marmalade.

An incredible find and an alternative to Icewine.

This isn’t no cheap and cheerful wine. Actually it is quite a masterpiece.

(Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal D.O. 2017, Bacalhôa, Azeitao, Portugal, $14.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 996181, 750 mL, 17%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 94/100).

For the final wine of 2021 a Samos Vin Doux famous for hundreds of years but in a world full of sweet wines it has dropped off the radar as a star wine for many people. Rather a shame considering the Vin Doux’s price and quality!

If has a classic golden colour. On the nose deep aromatics of peach, apricot, marmalade and honey. On the palate you are getting exactly the same  that presents itself on the palate. Very smooth with a short finish. This would suit baklava and a myriad of Greek desserts including the famous yogurt cake of Meteora which is toped with toasted almonds and honey. From my knowledge of this wine it is very popular with those of Greek descent although is really deserves to bust out to a wider audience.

(Samos Vin Doux, Sweet White Wine (Non-Vintage), Kourtaki, Markopoulo, Greece, $, 15.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 938407, 750 mL, 15%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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