Why you should be giving sweet wines another chance and the ones to try when you do

Sauternes and its kin are too delicious to be left to languish, urges Harry Eyres.

On a couple of recent wine trips with younger colleagues, I’ve been somewhat dismayed to detect a strong prejudice against sweet wines. This seemed to be related not to how delicious or otherwise they tasted, but to how many calories they contained.

‘Feeling sorry for a category of wine may not be the best reason for recommending it, but I do feel the struggling producers of Sauternes, and of other sweeter wines, deserve our support’

The contemporary attitude to sweetness is, in my view, confused, as many supposedly healthy foods and drinks (smoothies, fruit juice, ‘protein bars’) are just as sweet – if not sweeter – than many wines with a degree of residual sugar. Sauternes and Barsac contain, on average, 80g – 120g per litre of residual sugar. This may sound a lot, but is about the same as apple juice.

Why you should be drinking them

Feeling sorry for a category of wine may not be the best reason for recommending it, but I do feel the struggling producers of Sauternes, and of other sweeter wines, deserve our support.

‘From the sister property of the great Yquem, this wine would be memorable for a very special occasion’

Their wines are too delicious – not just with pudding, but other kinds of food such as foie gras, crab pâté and blue cheese, or on their own – to be allowed to languish.

What to buy

Les Remparts de Bastor-Lamontagne 2015 (£72.07 per six), from the impressive, consistent Château Bastor-Lamontagne, is a lighter, fresher style of Sauternes that’s very versatile.

Château Guiraud is a first-growth Sauternes that, like Bastor-Lamontagne, has been practising organic viticulture for a number of years. Château Guiraud 2016 is quite pale in colour and has lovely precision.

At a more luxurious level, Château de Fargues 2015 (£1,010 per six) has tremendous, voluptuous intensity and spiciness. From the sister property of the great Yquem, this would be memorable for a very special occasion.