When Shakespeare wrote “Sweets to the sweet” in Hamlet, they were words delivered with flowers scattered in Ophelia’s grave. How the centuries have changed the meaning. Say “Sweets to the sweet” today, and we think of romance, love, sweets to eat and sweets to drink.
Sweets to drink are an especially intriguing group, and there is a charming new entry from California: Bee d’Vine, a honey wine. Honey has been used to make alcoholic drinks for millennia; and in keeping with its long history, Bee d’Vine is made traditionally: solely from honey, water and yeast. Its Demi Sec, softly sweet, is satin-smooth with a floral background, a hint of almond and, yes, an aroma and aftertaste of honey ($24/375ml bottle).
In Austria, in the town of Rust, about six miles from the Hungarian border, Heidi Schröck produces an outstanding naturally sweet wine called Ruster Ausbruch “On The Wings of Dawn” from a blend of grapes. It is a rich, savory wine with tones of peaches, a touch of cinnamon, a lively citrus quality and a marvelous creamy finish ($75/375ml bottle).
The cool climate of Canada is ideal for one of the most difficult wines to make: ice wine. Left on the vine long after the rest of the grapes have been harvested, frozen grapes yield just drops of the extraordinarily sweet juice that produces ice wine. Look for those from Inniskillin, Château des Charmes, Rockway Vineyards, Reif Estate Winery, Pillitteri Estates and Ziraldo Estate Winery — all wineries have consistently produced winning ice wines. Prices range from about $25 to $80 for a 375ml bottle.
New York State’s northern Finger Lakes District, also a cool region, is home to Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, a producer of well-made sweet wines. From grapes that were left on the vine an extra five to six weeks comes Noble Select Chardonnay Magdalena Vineyard — sweet, rich and delicious ($37/375ml bottle). The winery’s Noble Select Riesling Magdalena Vineyard balances a luscious sweetness with clean acidity, apricot flavors and citrus fruits ($80/375ml bottle). And for the sweetest of all, try Noble Select Riesling Josef Vineyard, with the most intensely concentrated balance of fruit flavors, sweetness and refreshing acidity ($125/375ml bottle).
All promise sweets to the sweet.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.
One of Palm Desert, California’s, signature hotel properties recently finalized its biggest-ever redesign. The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa is home to 884 guestrooms and nearly 250,000 square feet of event space. Every facet of the property has been redesigned ahead of the property’s grand re-opening in January.