Looking forward to enjoying a generous slice of classic French dessert tarte au citron? Why not try one of these wines with which it pairs well?
Tarte au citron is a true staple of French pâtisserie, although it is said to have been invented by British Quakers in the late 18th century. On dessert menus, it’s sandwiched between the unctuous chocolate puds and fresh fruit tarts; sweet with a dose of acidic austerity.
When choosing a wine partner, the clues are to be found in the way the recipe plays with the balance between acidity, sweetness and a creamy texture. It also needs a wine that echoes the dish’s overwhelming lemony flavours, but with enough ripeness not to render it sour.
Fresh, bracing answers come from the vineyards of Jurançon and nearby Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, in Gascony. The sweet, or moelleux, wines from these appellations are made with petit manseng, gros manseng and petit courbu grapes, giving honeyed blends with citrus overtones and lively acidity. The sweet white wines from Gaillac, made primarily with the local loin de l’oeil variety, also make crisp yet luscious partners.
Closer to the Mediterranean, the sweet, fortified vins doux naturels from Languedoc-Roussillon boast riper, more exotic aromas. Most Muscat de Saint-Jean de Minervois is drunk young, with grapey, fruit salad flavours; while interesting alternatives come from Rivesalies, Banyuls or Maury, in Roussillon, made in the barrel- aged ambré style.
But if dessert stickies really are not your thing, bubbles can make a refreshing alternative. Champagne is an unexpectedly satisfying dessert wine, although tarte au citron demands a richer style, either with plenty of lees ageing, or a demi-see wine-nothing too tight and mineral. Or, returning to Gaillac, medium- dry or medium-sweet méthode ancestrale sparkling wines, made from the mauzac grape, are eccentric alternatives.
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