Odd Pair: Strawberry Shortcake and Sauternes

Categories: Odd Pair

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Katharine Shilcutt's piece on strawberries, complete with luscious photos of the ruby-red fruit, instilled a craving for strawberry shortcake into my easily influenced brain. Since I usually pass on dessert during the weekdays, I opted to outsmart myself and make strawberry shortcake for dinner. Ha ha! Loophole!

I baked up some crumbly sweet biscuits, sugared the beautiful garnet berries that were sitting on my counter, whipped up some fresh cream, and even made a thickly sweet lemon syrup to drizzle on top. As I was working on my masterpiece, I decided to find a wine to pair with this little plate of heaven.

Someone had gifted me a bottle of 2009 Chateau Grillon Sauternes ($25), which I decided to test out with my dessert, I mean, dinner. A fortified French dessert wine, the Grillon Sauternes was sweet and citrusy, which was a perfect complement to the lemony syrup drizzled on the shortcake.

The berries were a bit tart, but the wine softened them up and made them even more scrumptious. The ivory cloud of cream was a lovely, fatty companion to the acidic wine. I look forward to replicating this excellent meal soon, on a hot summer night.



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9 comments
Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Atkinson farms is selling some of the freshest, juiciest strawberries in town right now. I grab them up every time I hit the farmers market.

mfsmit
mfsmit

Not to pick nits, but Sauternes is not, strictly speaking, fortified. It's made from partially raisin-ed fruit, which results in a higher sugar concentration so that when the wine achieves the highest alcohol level the yeast can withstand, there's still some residual sugar left over.A fortified wine (such as port) is one that has some distilled alcohol added to stop the fermentation process prior to all the sugar being converted into alcohol.

TQro
TQro

Lol. I use the same loophole!

Bill
Bill

How is this an "odd pair?" What else would you serve sauternes with except for a fruit-based dessert... or pate foie gras?

Winelush
Winelush

Well I'll pick some more, it's not "raisin-ed" either. The grapes are affected by a specific fungus, Botrytis cinerea that rots them on the vine without affecting the acid levels in the grape. Which grapes that are "raisin-ed" lose. It's a natural desiccant process instead of a raisin process such as used for Amarone, where Botrytis is discouraged and in Bordeaux Sauternes cannot be made unless the grapes are affected by the fungus. If the fungus doesn't attach itself to the grapes, a dry wine is made under the name Bordeaux AOC.

Sorry to be so pedantic, but it's not cool to openly correct someone and still not have the accurate info.

Winelush
Winelush

Roast Chicken. Or fried chicken, think chicken and waffles. Try it, it's gorgeous Sauternes goes with a lot of different foods. Salty cured hams, stinky cheese, spicy foods. Sauternes particularly likes Habanero & Chipolte peppers.

mfsmit
mfsmit

Yes, I know the partial dessication of Sauternes grapes is caused by botrytis, I just didn't want to be overly pedantic/technical; wasn't relevant to the distinction with fortified wines.

Winelush
Winelush

Well, in my view I'd rather get technical and pedantic if I'm calling someone out for incorrect information. So if you're going to pick nits and be a nerd, do it right. Don't foster continuing bad information about wine production it really annoys educators like myself that work really hard to make the public more open to wine and it's different styles.

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