ITALIAN CHEESECAKE & SAUTERNES
Any sommelier’s mouth will salivate over the pairing of Sauternes and Foie Gras. It is one of those decadent matches that are written about and lusted over, but typically accessible to very few. First, most shopping center wine shops will either not carry any Sauternes, or if they do, its the cheapest quarter bottle this side of France. And then Foie Gras is, well, in addition to being difficult to even say without stuttering, not something you’ll find in your local grocery store. In other words, this is not a everyman’s pairing. Try it if you can find it, checking it off your YOLO bucket list, but I wouldn’t hold your breath in most of the country.
That being said, Sauternes is one of my favorite wines, and I wish for everyone to experience it at least once in their lives. So if you need to resort to online shopping to get your hands on a small bottle, then do it. And then open it, sufficiently chilled to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and instead of Fois Gras make yourself my mom's Italian cheesecake (if done right, you'll forget that you ever couldn't pronounce Fois Gras).
Sauternes is a sweet white wine made in the Bordeaux region of France. The grapes go through a process called botrytis where they literally rot on the vine. The resulting fungus strips the grapes of most of their water content leaving just the sugars behind and causing their flavors to become highly concentrated. (The wine in the bottle is, rest assured, absent of any fungus).
And what will you taste? Think honeyed apricots, tropical fruits, butterscotch, marmalade, and caramel (to name a few)…and all from some shriveled up and rotted grapes. Crazy what lemonade a master winemaker can make with the lemons nature deals them.
Now let's get started with my mom's Italian cheesecake recipe.