Sunday dinner, Pt 2 – The dessert wines


Desserts and the '88 Tokaji

 I got a bit sidetracked last week with wineblogging Wednesday but here is pt. 2 of  my Sunday dinner. Since I was tweeting all night long ( and those were the only notes I took), I’m posting the tweets verbatim. Unfortunately, after dinner and all that red wine, the tweets got shorter so I’ve add a comment or two now that I’m a bit more sober.

We had 4 dessert wines, 2 Tokaji Aszu, a German icewine, an Alsatian vendage tardive pinot gris, and an unplanned Cognac. The desserts were apple tart, raspberry pavlova – some sort of meringue-y thing with raspberries in the middle, and two cheeses.

Tweets says : tokaji, icewine and alsatian pinot gris ’96 gassman, vendage tardive for dessert . That about sums it up.

There were two Hungarian tokaji’s, an ’88 and a ’96, both 5 puttonyos (sounds dirty but it’s not). The botrytis affected grapes are made into a paste and collected in baskets called puttonyos which weigh about 55 pounds. The puttonyos are then made into wine, the more puttonoys, the sweeter and richer the wine. So 5 puttonyos is a pretty rich wine (thanks for the 411

The tweet: Tokaji 88 – nutty, almost sherry-ish, dried apricot, almonds, luscious but lite for a tokaji. Ch. Messzelato ’88 (Oddbins, £14.99), we all agreed it was a major disappointment. It was past it, certainly didn’t taste like a tokaji. This wine was a bin end and I can see why. oz-tasting-dinner-party-7-dec-140

Next up was Penny’s contribution, an Alsatian tokay pinot gris vendage tardive, which mean late harvest. Even though it’s called tokay, it’s not made the same way as the Hungarian tokaji’s or even the same grapes.

The tweets: vendage – Vin d’Alsace Rolly Gassman ’96– orange blossoms noses, quite herby a bit tropical, dried fruit, guava and pineapple  – wonderfully complex,excellent with apple pie  – Another comment on the88 tokaji : more like a sherry – oloroso or sweet amontillado.

vendage tardive ’96, James says it’s nice and tropical, pure elderflowers  – elderflowers getting it on with white flowers

Now we start to get a little messy and we’re eating cheese and dessert at the same time.

Next tweet: Penny says both cheeses go better with the tokaji , the cheeses are Stilton and Perseiles (french stuff)

oz-tasting-dinner-party-7-dec-121I’m still trying to carrying on a semblance of order so I try the next wine. A Sauternes, the L’exclusif  ’04, another bin end.

The tweet: on to the L’exclusif 04 – botrytis nose, more marmelade, orange peel, palate of burnt orange peel, earthy, bit of field mushroom, very earthy, really stands up to the cheese

Somebody found the cognac. The tweet: coffee and cognac – Delamain Pale & Dry XO (25 yrd old), amazing fruitiness, lithe and light on the feet – amazing. Delamain is one of my favourite cognacs.I went to a tasting over the summer and fell in love with it.

I was avoiding the ’96 Disznoko Tokaji Aszu (Oddbins, £23.99) because of the ’88 but someone opened it and had a taste – Marvelous! What a tokaji should taste like. The Tweet:  tokaji 96 – awesome, way better then the 88, fresh and lively, mushroomry, orange marmelade – on the palate, lively acidity.

Tokaji 96

The winner

After that it just degenerated into a free for all, as if it hadn’t already! So, we didn’t get to try the German icewine but to be honest I’m happy to have it for another dinner. It’s waiting patiently in my fridge.  


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  2. I’m also an Oddbiner, and work at the flagship store in London. I agree with Roddy, you must have had a bad Tokaji; I have the 88 in front of me right now, and it’s very fresh, though admittedly lighter and not as rich as some, but still very classy. I was also curious about something; you say you had a German eiswein, and I see a lot of the stuff was from Oddbins…the only thing is, we don’t sell a German icewine, but we do sell an Austrian. Was it the Huber perchance? If so, I as an icewine fanatic can assure you it’s one of the single best dessert wines I’ve ever had. The absolute best was the Pravino Sipon, from Ljutomer…it’s Slovenian, and I only ever found it at La Gavroche. Absolutely one of those wines that reminds you why you drink wine; full on peaches, cream and coconut. Anyway 😀 try the Huber, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Also feel free to pop in to my branch sometime, I’ll make sure to help you pick out some winners 🙂

    • I stand by our assesment of the ’88. I was speaking to Tom B, who’s been with Oddbins forever, and before I even gave my opinion of said wine, he said right off the bat, “tasted like sherry – amontillado perhaps”. Maybe those of us in the SE got a couple of bum bottles? The mystery eiswine used to be carried by Odd but not anymore and it’s not Huber. I do, however, LOVE Huber wines. Speaking of icewine, have you ever had the Canadian Inniskillen? To. Die. For. Flagship? Is that Battersea with Kate?

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  4. I would like to point out winesleuth’s comments on the tokaji do not represent the opinions of all at the dinner. I’m calling my lawyers now. Oh well looks like I’ll have to give it another run out.

  5. What a feast! Love a bit of Rolly Gassmann; only a shame it isn’t someone’s real name…

  6. Sounds like you had a bad bottle of the 88 Tokaji. I’ve had two bottles of it and found it to be excellent on both occasions – very lively and remarkably fresh for a twenty year old wine, with lots of dried fruit, nut and marmalade flavours, plus earthy mushrooms and even saltiness.

    I’m an Oddbineer too (at 385 in Glasgow).

    ((Oddbineers – like buccaneers, but with fewer ships and more grog, arrrrr))

    • Maybe we got a bad bottle but we all had the same opinion (being current or ex-Oddbiners). I also heard from another colleague that they found the same sherry like qualities at an area tasting. And someone who was at the area tasting was also at the Sunday dinner, so…..I’ll stick with the ’96 even if it is 9 quid more.

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