Muscat Love: Eastern Standard’s Colleen Hein Shares Five Dessert Wine Crushes

Because it’s never a bad idea to end on a cordial note.

A buttery hunk of bread pudding isn’t always in the cards after a multicourse repast. Sometimes finishing the evening with a sweet sip can be immensely more satisfying—a feeling Eastern Standard wine director Colleen Hein knows all too well. “I am one of those diners whose eyes are bigger than my stomach. By the time I get to the dessert course, I’m often full,” she says. “I find myself looking toward what I refer to with guests as ‘desserts by way of glass.’” That’s why she keeps her dessert-wine list at ES varied, with more than a dozen offerings and the option to enjoy a flight of three for $14. Here, a cheat sheet to Hein’s post-prandial crushes—and where to find them.

dessert wines

Photograph by Bruce Peterson

From left to right:

1. ALVEAR “SOLERA 1927” PEDRO XIMÉNEZ

“This can’t technically be called sherry because it’s not produced within Jerez, but it’s very similar. It pours almost like motor oil because it’s so dark and viscous. It has raisiny characteristics, and is caramelly with a bit of saltiness.”

$25 for 350 milliliters, Bauer Wine and Spirits.

2. ELIO PERRONE “SOURGAL” MOSCATO D’ASTI

“Think of moscato as being very friendly, always offering a great value. This has an effervescence and charming stone-fruit character, with notes of tropical fruit.”

$18, Wine Bottega (call in advance to confirm availability).

3. DOMAINE DU TRAGINER BANYULS BLANC

“Things get a bit more serious with this wine, as it is fortified. You feel the impact of the heightened alcohol, and it’s more cloudy, with notes of baked fruit and baking spices. This will appeal to lovers of madeira, port, and sherry.”

$43, South End Formaggio.

4. CASCINA GARITINA “NIADES” BRACHETTO D’ACQUI

“Visually in the glass this sparkler has a deeper, raspberry hue, and with that you get raspberry and blackberry characteristics. It’s undoubtedly on the sweet category of the wine side.”

$15, Wine and Cheese Cask.

 5. JORGE ORDOÑEZ & CO. “#2″ MUSCAT

“Loosely related to moscato is this wine from Málaga in southern Spain. This is made in sweet wine form, with no effervescence—but similar flavors come through. There are notes of candied pineapple, papaya, and overripe nectarine.”

$25, Wine and Cheese Cask.