Lovely though the pudding was, it was the accompanying wine that lifted the humble bread pudding to new heights. Slowly sipping my way through my wine collection, I decided to open a bottle of Austrian Ausbruch from my trip 2 years ago. Ausbruch is a style of sweet wine particular to the town of Rust (roosht), with a honeyed-apricot character tempered by refreshing acidity. Matched with the bread pudding, it reminded me that a high-quality sweet wine is the perfect choice to pair with a dessert or stand as a dessert all unto itself.
After the Ausbruch, I decided to explore other sweet wines during the week to match with leftover pudding. First, a Sauternes, which is of a similar sweetness but hails for Bordeaux. Later in the week, a revist to my all-time favourite, Tokaji Aszu, from northeastern Hungary. Both Sauternes and Tokaj are considered to be international standards in sweet wines, although the Germans/Austrians may beg to differ with their Beerenausleses and Trockenbeerenausleses (Ausbruch is only found in Austria). The effect of the Sauternes and the Tokaji on my dessert was the same as the Ausbruch; a perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, body, and flavour (though my preference, as always, falls with the Tokaji).
The unique feature of these wines is that there sweetness is not doctored to meet the masses; masses who were introduced to wines with the White Zinfandels, Mateus/Lancers, Baby Ducks, and Black Towers of the world. In the case of the latter, I actually had to write a paper for my Diploma exam on Black Tower; I said it was suited for the consumer new to wines or one who still drinks like it's 1973. Instead, sweet wines from Tokaji to Trockenbeerenauslese (while the former is my favourite wine, the latter is my favourite wine word) achieve their intense flavours and sugars by botryitis cinerea; a.k.a. "noble rot."