If the kids can have their sweet treats this time of year, we can have ours. Below you'll find scores and notes on a selection of sweet wines we've tasted in the past six months. Learn how some sweet wines can be paired with chocolate—that is, if you want to sneak some treats from the kids' stash. We also offer up some of our favorite pumpkin recipes, since you might as well put the insides of your jack-o'-lantern to good use. Happy Halloween!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the pumpkins or squashes in half and place cut side down on a sheet pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake for about an hour, or until a knife passes through easily. During cooking, add hot water to the pan as needed to prevent the bottom of the pumpkin from burning.
Meanwhile, cook the onions, ginger and butter over very low heat in a heavy pot large enough to hold the finished soup. Cook the onions gently for about 50 minutes, until reduced in bulk, and be very careful not to let them burn.
Scoop out the cooked pumpkin and add to the cooked onion mixture. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Puree the soup in small batches in a blender, then return it to the pot. Add the cream and reheat. If it's too thick, add more chicken stock until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt, brown sugar and nutmeg, to taste, plus a little cayenne if desired. For a more pronounced ginger flavor, bundle some chopped fresh ginger in cheesecloth and squeeze its juice into the soup.
When ready to serve, divide the quenelles among the bowls of soup and garnish with a sprinkling of julienned prosciutto. Serves 12.
Cook the figs slowly in just enough water to cover them, until only one teaspoon of the liquid remains, about 30 minutes. Puree the figs and remaining liquid, along with the rum, in a food processor until smooth. Allow the puree to cool to room temperature before gradually folding in the whipped cream. Chill this mixture until you're ready to use it. Form 24 to 36 quenelles, shaping them between two demitasse spoons.
This recipe appeared in the Nov. 30, 2001, issue.
|OCHS Grüner Veltliner Strohwein Burgenland Weiden am See 2003||95||$42 / 375ml|
|Gorgeous. Lovely, rich and well-balanced, with an inspired combination of buttery and toasty flavors, plus a lemon drop note. Like dipping a croissant into lemon curd. Long finish of custard, cream and spice. Yummy. Drink now through 2025. 415 cases imported.
|CHÂTEAU PIERRE-BISE Quarts de Chaume 2003||92||$32 / 500ml|
|This combines power and grace, with candied orange and ginger, maple and brown butter notes riding atop a vibrant minerally spine. Then everything cascades together on the lengthy finish. Drink now through 2013. 200 cases made.
|ALVEAR Pedro Ximénez Montilla-Moriles de añada 2003||91||$16 / 375ml|
|Thick and syrupy, with grape, fig and apricot flavors, intense sweetness and great concentration. Just a tad cloying, but it finishes lighter than it starts. Lovely texture. Drink now. 300 cases imported.
|PAUL CLUVER Weisser Riesling Elgin Noble Late Harvest 2003||91||$24 / 375ml|
|Delivers lots of apricot, papaya, persimmon and clove aromas and flavors, with a rich, sweet, long finish. Hint of green tea underneath too, with a minerally tang that brings you back for more. Drink now through 2010. 300 cases imported.
|DE BORTOLI Sémillon New South Wales Noble One Botrytis 2003||91||$26 / 375ml|
|Silky, sweet and distinctive for its creamy, spicy fig and honey flavors, hinting at pineapple as the finish persists. Drink now through 2013. 3,000 cases imported.
|ANDREW RICH Gewürztraminer Washington-Oregon 2003||91||$22 / 375ml|
|Sweet, gentle style has lovely honey, orange blossom, ripe apricot and delicate spice flavors that linger beautifully on the silky finish. Drink now through 2010. 400 cases made.
|MARGAN Sémillon Hunter Valley Botrytis 2003||90||$22 / 375ml|
|Smooth, rich, like a Sauternes, with honeyed fig and dried pear flavors that linger on the sweet finish, balanced with just enough acidity to keep it honest. Drink now through 2012. 500 cases made.
|THREE RIVERS Gewürztraminer Walla Walla Valley Late Harvest Biscuit Ridge Vineyard 2003||90||$12 / 375ml|
|Sweet but succulent, with lovely rose petal and orange peel overtones to the sweet pear and honey flavors, lingering well. Drink now through 2010. 536 cases made.
|HARDYS Sémillon South Eastern Australia Botrytis 2002||89||$15 / 375ml|
|Sweet and rich, a bit heavy but it offers deep-toned honey, walnut and pineapple flavors, with a tangy tropical fruit touch as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2012. 500 cases made.
|CAVE SPRING Riesling Niagara Peninsula Select Late Harvest Indian Summer 2003||88||$20 / 375ml|
|Sweet and intense. Elegant, with apricot, honey and orange marmalade flavors on a lightweight frame. Fine length. Apricot aftertaste. Drink now through 2010. 900 cases made.
|JACKSON-TRIGGS Vidal Niagara Peninsula Icewine Proprietors' Reserve 2003||88||$20 / 375ml|
|Pungent and sweet, but without the thick texture. Combines grapefruit, apricot and caramel notes, searing acidity and persistence for a distinctive dessert wine experience. Drink now through 2012. 4,200 cases made.
|KIONA White Riesling Yakima Valley Late Harvest 2004||88||$10 / 375ml|
|Pure and focused, sweet but balanced, with lively acidity and straightforward apple and pear flavors, finishing with a delicate touch of honey. Drink now through 2009. 1,200 cases made.
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