On Thursday 7 September 2023, 28 international judges representing 10 nationalities met in a hotel in the capital of Europe to taste entries in the Sweet and Fortified Wine Session of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.
This year, 410 wines are competing to win the famous accolade. The results will be published on September 14 at www.concoursmondial.com.
The history of sweet wine is fascinating. Once the most sought-after wine in the world, with Louis XV referring to Tokaj Aszú as the “king of wines and wine of kings”, the category has in recent years lost some of its aura. The aim of this dedicated tasting session is to put the genre back in the spotlight and showcase the outstanding quality of these unique wines.
Food and wine pairings
Pairing renowned sweet and fortified wines with food can usher in some amazing flavour experiences. These are some of the more famous pairings:
- Sauternes with foie gras: Sauternes, the sweet white wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France, is a classic choice for foie gras. The aromas of candied fruits and honey in Sauternes complement the richness and texture of foie gras.
- Sherry with Spanish tapas: Sherry, particularly Fino, Amontillado and Pedro Ximénez, are often served with Spanish tapas including olives, toasted almonds, Iberian ham and marinated anchovies. Their array of flavours make a good match for the variety of tapas.
- Ice wine with fruit desserts: Ice wine, like German Eiswein or Canadian iterations, are ideal for fruit-based desserts like apple tart or tropical fruit salad. Their balanced acidity and natural sweetness make them an amazing companion for fruit.
- Madeira with poultry stock: Madeira is a Portuguese fortified wine which pairs well with dishes based on poultry stock, including French onion soup. Its flavours of nuts and caramel make a great contrast for the lightness of the broth.
- Marsala with veal escalopes: The Sicilian wine Marsala is often used in recipes including veal escalopes with Marsala. When served with this dish, it creates harmonious flavours, combining the sweetness of the wine with the tenderness of the meat.
- Sherry with seafood: Sherry, particularly Manzanilla and Fino, makes an excellent partner for fresh seafood. Its dry, saline flavours complement the saltiness of the seafood.
- Vintage Port with dark chocolate: Vintage Port, often considered to be the finest Port, is delicious with dark chocolate. The intense fruitiness and tannins in the Port offer a great counterpoint to the richness of the chocolate.
About the competition
The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is an international competition where over 10,000 wines are entered by producers to be judged by a panel of experts. Our experienced judges taste the wines in the competition with one guiding principle, and that is to single out wines of irreproachable quality, with no bias stemming from the label or an appellation’s prestige. The Concours is one of the most significant international events of its kind.
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