The Joys of Dessert Wine – 3 Great Choices for Under $20

Dessert Wines for the HolidaysContributed by Nicole Nowlen – There is a scene that appears frequently in movies, books, or even just the homes of wine connoisseurs we know and love. You can picture it, the imbiber curled up in a chair with a blanket and a pleasant book, perhaps even the ubiquitous cat purring on their lap. Upon their nose is perched a pair of reading glasses, brought out only for these moments of quiet consumption of literature. Perched on the table next to them is a somewhat diminutive wine-glass filled with a rich, almost viscous liquid.   At moments spaced by the beat of interest the reader has in the book, it rises to their lips, and a slow luxurious consumption takes place. Just a sip, followed by a moment of pure relish before they set the glass back upon the counter and return to their reading.

What is this mysterious substance that our reader consumes with such reverence? Why is it only something brought out for truly special occasions, such as a quiet evening with a book? (If this doesn’t strike you as a special occasion, you underestimate the gravity and pleasure of a good book.) More often than not, what you are viewing is a moment’s luxurious passion shared with a rich, sweet, flavorful dessert wines. They hold a special place in the heart of a wine lover, as often shared as part of an intimate conversation between friends after a fine meal, as in private moments like those above. Despite their association with luxury, they don’t have to be expensive, and I’d like to provide you with a small sampling of which dessert wines will fit your palette and your budget for under $20.

W & J Graham’s Fine Ruby Port 

Graham's Port

Graham’s Port

Red Ports are known for being rich flavorful blends that are full of subtle undertones of luxury and hedonism.   One of the most unusual aspects of a port is that the winemakers themselves may remain blissfully unaware of what’s actually growing in their vineyards. This doesn’t mean the flavor isn’t consistent, but more that the particularly subtle nuances of what the grape is and what its heritage is have been lost to the mists of time. What you can be certain of is that this vintage will bring a fine dance to the table, a mixture of bold strokes of flavor spun off with elegant refinery in its finish. The one thing that stands true about a Port in all cases, as a dessert wine it won’t lead you astray.

2008 Quady Winery Elysium Black Muscat Dessert Wine

This wine is made from an exotic little grape known as the Muscat Hamburg, this grape has a dark black color to its skin that doesn’t bring its powerful color to the wine. Instead dusting the result with a blush or rose colored tint that is pleasing to the eye. These grapes are primarily grown in the California wine region, and are thus part of the ever increasingly popular vintages that come from that region. The delightful spread of flavors that appears in this bottle is not to be underestimated, you will find it packed with boysenberry, buttery apricot, while travelling through your palette with hints of herbs and spices, and ending on a delightful almond crème brulee note.

Bonny Doon Framboise Raspberry Eau de Vie

By far the priciest of the wines on this list, it comes with an experience that is worth every penny of its nearly $20 price tag.The name Eau-de-Vie means “Water of Life” in French, and is the designation for a variety of fruit-based distilled wines. While Bonny Doon may use a French blend of grapes for its wines, it called California home. The brusque flavor of this wine will flow across your palette in a veritable delight of raspberry essence swirled with a dusting of chocolate flavor. All in all it may very well be the perfect dessert wine.

Ending the Evening With a Lovely Glass of Dessert Wine

To the true connoisseur there is little as pleasant as a small glass of dessert wine to end the night. Something about its flavor just rounds out the day and leaves you relaxed and ready to doze off into a pleasantly contented sleep. For those with a flair for the dramatic, you could always have your own labels printed to express your personality both in your choice of drink, and how you present it and add your own bit of charm to an already lovely wine!

About the Author: Nicole Nowlen is a full-time businesswoman and DIY enthusiast.
Living in old London town, but with a burning desire to go everywhere and see everything!
She can be contacted at or Twitter @nicolenowlen87


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