Mesmerising Muscadel

Tuesday, 1 June, 2004
Tinus van Niekerk
'Warming the innards when one drinks it, and refreshing the exterior when one washes in it'
I like to think that when Pliny the Elder wrote: ‘Wine has the property of warming the innards when one drinks it, and of refreshing the exterior of the body when one washes in it’, he must have referred to muscadel. Just imagine taking a muscadel shower, or lazily relaxing in a bath of muscadel, red or white. It must be a sensational experience that could indeed last for a while ...

In fact, I have yet to meet with a person who does not like a well-made sweet wine, and for me sweet wine is a good muscadel, served highly chilled, presented correctly in a long stemmed glass, amidst good company, and with soothing music in the background. And the good thing is that the muscadel wines from Oranjerivier Wine Cellars are as good as they come, and then some better.

What intrigues me, though, is that nobody in the Northern Cape really gets excited about these glorious dessert wines. Just think of it: a good muscadel wine is affordable, just ideal to serve as an aperitif, or to enjoy with sweet dessert at the end of a meal, as a nightcap, and of course by itself. What’s more, muscadel can be served with alacrity as an accompaniment to highly spiced foods, and in savouring more than one glass, one could perchance become a philosopher.

I believe that dessert wines deserve to be popular. Who would not want to be served with a glass of ice-cold red muscadel; coppery and amber coloured in appearance, running thick with viscosity; and offering the decadently complex aromas of raisins, beeswax, cinnamon and milk chocolate; luscious, silky, smooth and generous in the mouth with an aftertaste that carries on and on ...

Next time when you want to put a few bottles away for some bottle maturation consider a good muscadel from Oranjerivier Wine Cellars; it will outlast many other ‘special’ wines. Also make sure that dessert wine is always served chilled. Yes, stuff social convention, simply also serve your dessert wine before the meal. That might astound your guests but it will contain their appetite and render them more appreciative of the table fare, and above all else, they will enjoy the wine, and the cuisine. That is a guarantee!

By Tinus van Wyk for Orange River wine cellars