Honey. It's complicated. Which makes it even harder to decide what wine matches with honey desserts?
Over the weekend a friend of mine was discussing how his bees had made 25lbs worth of honey in the last week, which got me thinking about all the delicious desserts I could make with all that honey! Some of my favourite honey based desserts are:
- Walnut baklava
- Honey & vanilla madeleines
- Devonshire honey cake
- Honeyed almond figs
But how do you match wines with these desserts and others?
The primary concern is dependent on the honey. Something like thyme honey from Greece is light and herbal and has almost savoury notes. It would be perfect on the figs, and as it isn't very sweet like honey can be and would be great matched with moscato, but my choice for today is the Mas Amiel Vintage Blanc 2010.
Made in rugged Cathar country in Southern France, with 260 days of sunshine a year, this wine is sweet, fresh and fruity with a richness that blends well the savoury notes in the honey and the acidity of the fruit.
Devonshire honey cake calls for clear honey so something with a lower water content is good. A floral style honey would add to the flavour of the cake (especially the raw honey used for the glaze) and a dollop of cream would really set the whole thing off. If you want to stay away from dessert wine then a fruity chenin blanc might work to cut through the cream, but for me the only match is add some acidity and sweetness in the form of Moscatel Naturalmente Dulce, Finca Antigua Half, 2010
a delightful sweet wine from Spain that has excellent floral notes to complement the same tastes in the honey.
Honey and vanilla madeleines are a twist on a classic. Here, you want a sweet but not too strongly flavoured honey so the vanilla can take centre stage. Vanilla and chocolate is a classic combination and you can call to this with a red vin doux naturel (naturally sweet wine) Banyuls Rimage ‘Les Clos De Paulilles’, Chateau de Jau, Collioure, 2008
which reminds me of Azetc chocolate because it is deep, dark and sexy with hints of mocha on the toungue. Of course if you wanted a more traditional match a white vine doux would be perfect.
Walnut and honey baklava is my favourite dessert. I have to admit I normally buy rather than make, because pastry isnt my strongest point with baking! The normal nut addition is pistachio, but I love it with walnuts which are slightly softened by the honey. A wild flower honey would be perfect here if you are making them yourself. A sauterne is a sweet wine from Bordeaux and is a perfect addition to baklava and a very strong coffee. The Chateau Filhot, Sauternes, 2005
has hints of pineapple and apricots and lots of acidity, despite the sweet taste, to cut through this ultra sticky dessert.
I just need to get my hands on some honey now. What would you do with extra honey and what wines wold you pair?
Rebecca, The Perfect Cellar Team