Looking for something to drink with your festival dessert? Then, I suggest you call down to Karwig Wines  in Carrigaline as they have quite a large selection, featuring wines from Germany, Hungary, France, Australia....

I was there for that very purpose this morning and got a warm welcome and advice, not to mention a tasting or two, from busy Emily and later met Joe Karwig himself and wife Betty, always in great form. Must say though the first friendly greeting was from the family dog!

My to-get list included a German Eiswein and that box was ticked with the purchase of a Dexheimer Sonnenberg Scheurebe Eiswein 2004, ABV 9.5%. The grape variety here is the Scheurebe and the wine has a golden colour, showing layers of apricot, pineapple and passion fruit. The sweetness and fruit is beautifully balanced by crisp acidity. An ideal companion for fine desserts and blue cheeses or simply on its own.

This Eiswein, much lower in alcohol, is nowhere near as heavy or as “sticky” as your Sauternes or Tokaji. It has its own admirable lighter qualities and indeed may be better with the dessert than some of the “stickies” which can sometimes overpower the dessert and are often best drunk on their own, maybe just after the pudding!

We did get to taste one of
the Hungarians: Patricius Leonis Aszu 3 Puttonyos, 12% ABV, grape variety – Furmint. The description here is good, I like the vibrating bit, as I have used reverberating myself: Fine nose of peach, apricot and flowers. Vibrating acidity and kind sweetness on the palate with superb balance. A long, smooth taste giving an elegant finish. An excellent dessert wine.

But the one that came up next beat all, as they say. I am referring to the fantastic Pfeiffer Rutherglen Muscat, 17% ABV.

 This Muscat is a wonderful example of Rutherglen Classic Muscat. An aromatic bouquet of florals and raisins follows on to the rich and luscious palate, lingering long after the wine has been enjoyed. Muscat is regarded as the world's RICHEST wine.”

Australian wine guru James Halliday gave it 92/100 and described it thus: Attractive flamboyant muscat bouquet, with fruitcake and a hint of toffee on offer; the palate is luscious for this level and shows a fine balance between sweetness and freshness on the finish.

And many experts agree with him as you can see by the list of awards   it has won.

After all that sweetness, I needed a bit of balance and looked for a young Riesling and, after advice from Joe, and a tasting, bought a Kerpen Blauschiefer Trocken 2009, 12.5% ABV.  It is an “Elegant wine with harmonious acidity, crisp green apple and wonderful structure and minerality. Good with fish with light sauces or as a thirst quencher.” Could come in handy on the first fish day after all the heavy duty Christmas fare has been demolished!

And it is not just wine that Karwig sells. It is also the place we go for our favourite Olive Oil and so we added a bottle of organic Farnese Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva. The processing is done at low temperatures within 12 hours of manual collection, in a traditional olive mill. Great stuff for just €10.50.

If you’re not in the Cork area, you can check out their exciting list on their website http://www.karwigwines.ie