Oh. My. God. I just tasted my first ever Ratafia wine from France.
Another instant addiction, just like Canadian icewine, French Sauternes, 30 year old Tawny Port, German/Austrian TBAs, properly aged Vintage Port and Greek Vinsanto. Literally hooked the second I tasted it.
CHAMPAGNE J. DUMANGIN FILES RATAFIAN DE CHAMPAGNE – A French Ratafia made from fortifying fresh Champagne juice with wine eau de vie. This has a golden-orange color, a nose of orange peel and heat, a viscious full body, and an incredibly complex taste similar to 20 and 30 year old Tawny Port that starts off with caramel and vanilla and then immediately moves into incredibly intense candied citrus peel flavors before easing back into caramel and vanilla notes which mix in with the heat on the end.
The fruit flavor is incredibly fresh and intense yet not too sweet or one-dimensional as Muscat Beaumes de Venise which evaporates and fades away quickly on the palate. No, the finish on this is incredibly lengthy.
Is all Ratafia de Champagne this good? I really have to get my hands now on its brethren Pineau de Charentes now which is made in exactly the same way. Let me tell you all how impressed I was with this: I may just like it better than even 20 and 30 year old Tawny Port and Vintage Port!
Shhh, don’t tell that Roy Hersh guy. He thinks Port is the bee’s knees…
Good discovery, Tran…just what you need…another dessert wine to chase after.
I think many/most of the Ratafias are made w/ aged Cognac/brandy addition. Which accounts for the somewhat aged character. According
to the Wikipedia entry, it’s made w/ all sorts of additional herbs/flavorings/spices. I’ve not seen any from the Champagne region that met
that description…but then I’ve only had 6-8 Ratafia de Champagne. They’re hard to find.
The Pineau de Charentes I’ve had (again…8-10 of them) use simple eau di vie to fortify and they seem a bit simpler than the Ratifias.
About a yr ago, one of the people in my group brought a roughly 30-yr old Pinot de Charentes that he’d bought on his first trip to France.
It was pretty incredible stuff…some complexity but still pretty primary.
No, I currently don’t drink anything under 10g/l RS at this time. The driest I currently drink are Grand Cru Alsacian wines which clock anywhere between 20-40 g/l RS. I did once drink a Hoffman-Simon 08 Riesling Spatlese that I enjoyed very much that turned out to be a miniscule 2g/L RS. If anything would move me closer to drier wine, it would likely be a Riesling either from Germany, Ontario or Alsace.
Very interesting. I had no idea what “ratafia” was until this thread. Tran, as strange as it seems, I bet in the hundreds and hundreds of bottles in my cellar there is not one you would drink, and I suspect the converse is true as well. Glad you found a new love!
Corey, I have indeed actually had Mogen David and Manischewitz wine for Passover when I was younger… and they are one of the many reasons I was a non-drinker for most of my life. My God, is that stuff horrible. It’s embarassing to even call it wine.
In regards to dry wines, Neal, I actually do drink them when offered, I’m at a special wine event or getting together with people for an offline. I just don’t go out of my way to buy them. I do enjoy dry wines, but I’m passionate about sweet wines and that’s the difference for me.