The wine often sits in a in a corner of the store in a small, funny-looking bottle. But that doesn’t mean the contents aren’t worth exploring, for dessert wines are some of the least known and least understood.

“There are a couple of magnificent wines available, and not all of them are too expensive,” says Randy McLaughlin, the director of fine wines for Sigel’s. “They are certainly worth looking for.”

Dessert wines are not always made from grapes but are always made like wine. The fruit is fermented, whether it’s raspberries or grapes, and is usually sweeter than traditional wine. Often, it’s fortified with alcohol, since most fruits don’t produce enough during the fermentation process. Serve these wines well-chilled, with simple desserts or fresh fruit. No double death chocolate cakes, please:

• Bonny Doon Framboise Infusion ($11). Another well-crafted wine from the California producer known for its funky labels and outstanding value. It’s made with raspberries and fortified with alcohol, but is neither too sweet or overpowering.

• Quadi Elysium ($11). This California wine resembles a port, but is made with black currants and fortified with alcohol. It has a dark, fruity flavor.

• Yaluma Semillon ($17). A French-style dessert wine made in Australia. The flavor is like a candied apricot, thanks to a technique that takes advantage of a fungus that naturally dries the grape.


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