by Fred McMillin
for September 27, 1999


We Got Apricot


"Our Concento d'Oro Late Harvest Chardonnay has lovely...apricot aromas and flavors, etc. Great with lemon tea cookies."

...Kent Rosenblum, Rosenblum Cellars

Apricot-Glazed Savarin Dessert

Apricot-Glazed Savarin Dessert, Baked by Ruth McMillin

The Rest of the Story

We found another marvelous companion for Kent's d' apricot-glazed Savarin (photo), which my wife taught as far back as 1966! It's origins go back MUCH farther than that...

1736—King Stanislas I of Poland abdicates his crown and moves to Nancy, France. An enthusiastic cook, he douses a yeast cake with rum syrup and names it after his favorite fictional figure, Ali Baba in A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS. Baba au rum was born.

c.1800—Chef Sthorer introduces the dish in Paris with great commercial success.

c.1840—Parisian pastry chef Julien changes the shape using a ring mold, changes the composition of the syrup (which long remains a secret), and names the modified baba after the great gourmand Brillat-Savarin. Later, it is called simply SAVARIN. (Recipe in Larousse Gastronomique)

1964—James Beard teaches my wife to coat the rum-syrup-laden porous yeasty cake with a glistening apricot glaze (photo). Which brings us to our elegant dessert wine, with its subtle hints of apricot.

The Wine of the Day (from my cellar)

1997 Concento d'Oro, Sonoma County
Late Harvest Chardonnay, Rosenblum Cellars
Residual sugar—13.8%
Botrytis Cineria?—Yes, those apricot flavors come courtesy of the world's most prized gray coating on wine grapes in the fall.
Length of Fermentation— Would you believe: SIXTY days!
Availability—Buy it from the winery whenever there's a new release, and put it in storage until you're ready to use it. It sells out promptly, so get on the waiting list now.
Phone (510) 865-7007, FAX (510) 865-9225.
Tasting Rating—EXCELLENT
Price—$17 for 375 ml.
Note—The Rosenblum dessert Zinfandels are a treat, too.


Our dessert might have been known as Brillat, not Savarin. The great gourmet's last name was simply Brillat...UNTIL his great aunt said she would make him her sole heir if he would add her surname to his. Her name was Mademoiselle SAVARIN.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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