Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Game, Set, Match at Centre Court

Chatter and giggles filled the room at La Quinta Resort's Centre Court Restaurant Saturday night. Our Spring Fling of culinary delights and home-run wine pairings was coming to a close. As plates of warm tart tatin arrived to sway us into sweet indulgence, our resort hosts treated Winewomenpsp to one last surprise: 1975 Château de Malle Sauternes.

Regardless of your taste in wine and spirits, uncorking a 1975 Sauternes warrants a moment of silence. The liquid gold was sunny in the glass and rich on the palate. Full-bodied flavors of spiced honey, almond and apricot ushered in a long finish with just-right sweetness and texture. The wine's arrival seemed to quiet the room just enough for us to say our goodbyes with plenty of hugs and smiles to go around.

Bordeaux is home to the great French dessert wine known as Sauternes. The blend's sweetness and viscous mouth feel develops from a seemingly unappetizing natural process known as "noble rot." White Bordeaux grapes Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle stay on the vine until they are infected by Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that eventually makes the grapes contract or shrivel, which concentrates flavors. Once perfectly rôti, grapes are picked and their juices vinified, blended and aged to become Sauternes.

Ordinarily we wouldn't recap an event by starting with the end but in this case, the finale deserved top billing. We promise to tell you about Centre Court's other pleasures next time. For now, thanks to our hosts for sharing an over-the-top finishing touch – Chateau de Malle 1975 Sauternes. Merci.

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