As you'd figure, plum wine is usually served as dessert fare. It's sugary like plums, thick like plums and lazy going down like plums—which is to say its reputation parallels that of its source. Plums contain all sorts of antioxidants and are used popularly to flavor certain high-end brandies; dry 'em out, and you've got yourself a batch of prunes, just the ticket amid Aunt Ethel's constipation and all that infernal crankiness that goes with it.
It's that thick-y, overwhelming sweetness, though, that sometimes keeps this delicacy out of the mainstream wine realm—with the exception of one particular brand. Takara Sake USA, out of Berkeley, makes as compatible a plum wine as you'll find; the consistency is so fluid that it even stands up to ice. The base is extracted from the ume, an extremely tart plum found in Japan and sometimes used in the manufacture of sake, or rice wine. For a beverage with so innocuous an aroma, this one delivers a major kick to the nose and throat, almost as if it were never intended for the dessert environment. The sensation is different and long-lasting, yet the strong hint of plum is never far behind.
But nobody (certainly not Aunt Ethel, at least) is going to jump up and score you a swig. You need to go to BevMo or another great wine store, take out $4.99 in U.S. currency and exchange it for a bottle. With any luck, Aunt Ethel will be around to join you in a toast—ideally, she'll then disappear into the one room of the house previously reserved for the rest of the family.