Vocabulary Quiz

For postprandial drinking, remember Quarts de Chaume
JJ Buckley

When it comes to dessert wines, most drinkers don't get past Sauternes.

But those in the know can now commit a new vocabulary phrase to heart: Quarts de Chaume.

This region in France's Loire Valley has been turning out extraordinary, age-worthy sweet wines for decades, but only recently was it bestowed Grand Cru classification.

Made entirely from late-harvest Chenin Blanc, the wine relies on the development of botrytis--that miraculous bacteria known as "noble rot," which dries grapes to a sugary sweetness. The result is one of the most irresistible and dazzlingly honeyed wines imaginable.

Although only a handful of winemakers operate within this tiny region, our favorite bottling by far is the 2008 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume ($60 for 750ml), which is produced by one of the appellation's most iconic flagship estates. On first sip, it offers immense purity of flavor, rippling with quince, candied apple and a lively jolt of fresh citrus.

A bit of this magical liquid goes a long way, so unless you're entertaining a large group, we recommend appreciating it in the 375 ml half-bottle. It's the perfect amount to share after dinner with someone you find as sweet as the wine itself.


Buy 2008 Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume

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