Pairing wine with dessert or sweet treats can be fairly easy if you follow one basic rule: the wine needs to be as sweet or a touch sweeter than the dessert. Once we have that figured out, we can focus on the flavors! Here are a few common dessert/wine pairing you can use to impress a crowd or a significant other during the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday.
CHEESECAKE, FLAN, CRÈME BRULEE OR CUSTARD
We always like to recommend a wine with a little effervescence when it comes to cheesecake. When you have a rich dessert like cheesecake, the effervescence helps clean the palate between bites. A higher alcohol content dessert wine like Sherry will accomplish the same effect.
Recommended wines: Poggio Moscato d’ Asti or Osborne Pedro Ximenez Sherry
CHEESECAKE, FLAN, CRÈME BRULEE OR CUSTARD WITH BERRY OR CHOCOLATE TOPPINGS
Once you add another element to the flavor profile of the above creamy desserts, we can adjust the wine pairings to help highlight the toppings.
Recommended wines: Fizz 56 Brachetto or Quady Electra Red
CHOCOLATE DECADENCE, DARK/ BITTER CHOCOLATE
When you have very rich chocolate desserts or desserts that use chocolate with a high cacao percentage, we turn away a little from the sweeter wines and focus on the density and bitterness of the dessert. Cabernet Sauvignon or Ruby Ports tend to compliment these desserts the best. Sweeter style red wines will also work, if you don’t enjoy a full bodied wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Ruby Port.
Recommended wines (full bodied): Angel’s Landing Napa Cabernet or Bogle Petite Sirah Port
Recommended wines (medium/semi-sweet): Apothic Dark or Stella Rosa Black
MILK CHOCOLATE, WHITE CHOCOLATE, BERRIES, RED VELVET CAKE
If you are serving light or mild chocolates with or without the addition of berries, you will want to select a sweet, red wine that will not overpower the dessert. So, select a semi-sweet red wine and you will get a nice touch of sweetness along with hints of berry flavors.
Recommended wines: Roscato Rosso, Poggio Rosato or Risata Rosso
CITRUS FRUITS, LEMON, LIGHTER DESERTS
The trick with any pairing is getting the food and wine to work together…not beat each other up! When the main component is an acidic fruit like lemon or lime, we need to bring in a wine to balance out the sharp flavors. Along the same lines, if you are doing a white cake or lighter dessert, we don’t want a wine so sweet that you can’t taste the dessert.
Recommended wines: Ste Michelle Special Harvest Riesling or Starling Castle Riesling
CARAMEL, NUTTY, MAPLE, BROWN SUGAR
Just to mix things up…these flavor components are the same as what you will find in any Bourbon! It might be a little over the top, but don’t be afraid to try a Bourbon-based cream liqueur over ice. If whiskey isn’t your thing, here is a wine pairings also!
Recommended cordial: Brown Jug Bourbon Cream
Recommended wine: Warres Otima 10 year old Tawny Port