Dessert beverages are definitely one of the trickiest facets of dining out. If you actually want to order dessert, you don’t want to choose a super sweet beverage to accompany a super sweet dish and end up with a sickening sugar fest in your mouth. Also, not all desserts and dessert wines play nicely together. The only way to get better at combining the right flavors is, of course, to taste away.
Which is why I was so excited to find out about some of the sorbet and dessert wine selections at Amour Wine Bistro. It doesn’t matter what’s on the menu at Amour, you can pretty much rest assured owner Paul Heitz has a pairing up his sleeve. But what I didn’t realize is that he designs some of his sorbets specifically to pair with the dessert wines on his menu. Finding it out with an impromptu tasting after a long work trip was most enjoyable.
First, we sampled dragon fruit sorbet, served in the extremely eye catching shell, topped with blood orange sauce alongside Navarre Pineau des Charentes Vieux. Made in North Bordeaux, this dessert wine is made from Ugni Blanc blended with six-year-old Grand Champagne Cognac that’s aged in casks for 30 years. The result is impressively complex: flavors of caramel, honey, figs and maple syrup were an interesting pairing with the bright, tart flavors of the dragonfruit sorbet. This was a perfect example of complementing deep and rich flavors with something a bit more tart. The flavors were unique and absolutely delicious.
Up next, a concentrated, floral Gewurztraminer arrived paired with lychee-rose sorbet. The wine and the sorbet possessed similar flavors, although the Gewurztraminer was much more dense and concentrated with honey notes, making the lighter sorbet a refreshing pairing. The subtle variations on similar flavors created a harmonious symphony of floral, fruity notes.
As if two amazing pairings weren’t enough, we finished with a third—Muscat de Beaumes de Venise alongside Valrhona cocoa sorbet with candied orange peels. This was another intriguing combination as I would normally put chocolate alongside port. Paul was quick to point out the difference between cocoa and chocolate, though, noting that without the excess sugar the cocoa flavor must be paired differently. The wine was filled with ripe citrus flavors, making it a perfect combination with the candied orange peels, and the cocoa provided a slightly more savory tone, again making the course complex and intriguing.
While I was there, I had a chance to chat with Paul about the weekly wine tastings he’s been hosting and he showed me one of the guide books. I was extremely impressed with the detail and plans for each class. Check out the events list on the restaurant’s home page for upcoming events. Or, stop by the bar and let Paul educate you!