There is something tangible missing from your diet. It is the closure, the full stop, the chequered flag and the mark of a truly generous and well-seasoned host – your missing link is a stunning sweet wine. We are used to pouring well-chosen whites and reds and even fizzies for special occasions, but nothing satiates the palate and sends your friends home grinning like a stunning pud wine. Here are six stunners. Remember that you only need a teeny glass to work wonders, so a half bottle can do six easily and bottle can do twelve!
NV Asti Spumante, Piemonte, Italy (£7.49, Marks & Spencer). The most comedic of styles of wine, this fizzy muscat wine, from the famous town of Asti, is so famous and feted it is incredible. Sadly, so many examples are like ‘soda-streamed’ fruit juice, when what you really want is an ice cool, mesmerising siphon of effervescent grape juice! M&S has a cracker on its shelves and you must drink it with lighter chocolate dishes or fresh fruit tarts!
NV Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro, Spain (£8.89, selected Waitrose & www.waitrosewine.com). This is a truly incredible wine, with geranium and lemon verbena notes jostling around the palate with butterscotch and brûlée notes. Serve chilled as an ultra-chic aperitif or a sensual pudding wine and match it to caramel-driven dishes. This extraordinary addition to your cellar will expand your horizons like no other sweetie.
NV Campbells Rutherglen Muscat, Victoria, Australia (£11.99, half bottle, reduced to £9.59 if you buy 6, selected Oddbins & www.oddbins.com; £9.99, Waitrose). This is one of the most awarded estates in Australia and yet in the UK we barely recognise this cosmic style of wine. Liqueur muscat is liquid heaven. Drunk with anything toffeed or chocolate-drizzled this is an insanely delicious brew. Open a bottle and then drink a sip over a month and it will not go off! This is a magical and mystical vinous potion.
2009 Mount Horrocks, Cordon Cut Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia (£17.49 – £19.95, half bottle, www.virginwines.com, Philglas & Swiggot tel. 020 7924 4494, The Secret Cellar tel. 01892 537 981, WoodWinters tel. 01786 834 894). Stephanie Toole’s iconic riesling is one of the greatest versions on the planet. Utterly sensational in every way this fruit bowl of joy is so captivating you simply won’t know what to do with yourself. Ethereal and ever-lasting on the palate this is the perfect wine with tarts and apple-based puds. It is true love in a glass.
2009 Rustenberg, Straw Wine, Stellenbosch, South Africa (£10.95, half bottle, Lea & Sandeman www.leaandsandeman.co.uk & tel. 020 7244 0522, Harvey Nichols tel. 020 7201 8535, www.sawinesonline.co.uk). This incredible chenin blanc-based wine is lighter and more lifted and dainty than some on this page, but it is fabulously persistent and enveloping. With a honeysuckle and pear nose and slick, honeyed palate this is an all-purpose sweetie with great style and élan.
2009 Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu, l’Anclaie, Château de Pierre Bise, Loire (£19.50, 50cl bottle, Lea & Sandeman). This is categorically the finest Loire sweet wine in the UK right now. At three pounds a glass it is not a cheapie, but you will be blown away by the extraordinary quality in the glass. Lush, flamboyant and also distinguished and elegant this is a heroic wine which drinks well right now, but would also live to two decades!