Find apples and pears and little too pedestrian? Perhaps quince is the fruit you’ve been searching for!
This ancient fruit is thought to be the predecessor of the modern day apple. In ancient Greece, the quince was a ritual offering at weddings. A small deciduous tree bearing a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear the fruit is bright golden yellow when mature. If you can actually manage to sink your teeth into one of these rock hard fruits raw, you will find the flavors to be tart, tannic and very astringent. This quality (along with the high level of pectin) makes quince a popular choice for jams, jellies and a great accompaniment cooked for stewed meats (particularly in Middle Eastern and Latin American dishes)
What the quince is most commonly known for is it’s strongly perfumed flesh. It’s smell is like nothing else; deep and honey-sweet with a strong citrus or pineapple notes and an exotic spiciness all wrapped into one. This melange of scents make this fruit a favorite wine descriptor of conoisseurs the world over.
Looking for a wine with notes of quince? We recommend:
2009 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes
Wine Advocate 97: The team at Chateau Rieussec have conjured a stellar wine in 2009. There is a little reduction at first that fortunately blows away, revealing thickly layered scents of honey, Danish pastry and quince that appear to gain vigor with every passing sip. The palate is stunning: very viscous in the mouth with tangy grapefruit, honey and white peach. It is still primal, but the acidity is perfectly judged and there is a life-affirming sense of precision and tension towards the finish. Exceptional. Drink now-2045.