Dessert Wine Pairings

Dessert Wine Pairings Blog Post

Wine pairings don’t have to come to an end as the meal does: there are many dessert and wine pairings that will keep your meal or dinner party going! Whether you’re having a creamy dessert or a rich chocolate delicacy, there is a wine that will end your meal on a sweet note.

Riesling and stone fruit

Stone fruits such as apricots and peaches are fruit-forward––without being jammy––and exhibit sweetness along with tartness. It is no surprise that they pair exceptionally well with Riesling, which has high acidity alongside an often slightly sweet profile. Even bone-dry Riesling couples beautifully with cobbler and grilled peaches or apricots, all of which need the wine’s acidity to balance out the sweetness brought forward through baking or grilling.

Gewurztraminer and apple or pear

Gewurztraminer is known for its spiced notes (Gewurtz is, after all, German for “spiced”!) and pairs wonderfully with the two fruits most often associated with fall and winter dishes: apples, and pears. As a rule of thumb, if the fruit pairs well with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, then it probably pairs well with Gewurztraminer as well. Along with apple pie, poached pears, and baked apples, try Gewurztraminer with desserts such as persimmon cookies, oatmeal raisin bars, and gingerbread.

Chardonnay and lemon

Chardonnay is known to pair well with lemon-based sauces for shrimp, scallops, and seafood pasta, but Chardonnay with lemon desserts? Surprisingly (or not), Chardonnay is an exceptionally good pairing with lemon bars, lemon poppy seed cake, and other lemon-based desserts: the sweetness of Chardonnay––particularly the sweetness of oaked Chardonnay––accompanies the citrus of lemon desserts beautifully.

Banyuls and carrot cake

Spiced desserts like carrot cake are excellent with Port and other fortified red wines, such as the red wine made on the Spanish/French border of Banyuls. The fortified wine needs a dessert that is more bold in flavors and slightly more dense than light sponge cakes or mousse, and the alcohol from the wine’s fortification process will cut through any rich or sweet frostings.

Sparkling wine and cheesecake or creme brulee

Rich, creamy desserts like cheesecake and creme brulee need the palate-cleansing bubbles that sparkling wine delivers. Skip dry Prosecco or nutty Champagne and try a sparkling rosé or Cava: the fruitiness and food-friendly qualities of these wines will shine through and welcome you to enjoy another bite . . . and another . . .

Syrah and chocolate mousse

Not sure what to do with a Syrah that’s a bit too jammy? Try it alongside a chocolate mousse. The key to pairing red wine with chocolate is simple: make sure your wine is more fruity or higher in sugar than your dessert. With that in mind, go easy on the sugar in your mousse, and let the fruit and acidity of the Syrah cut the dessert’s richness.

Merlot and brownies

Merlot is known for being rich, soft, and deep in flavor and texture . . . are those not the same words used to describe chocolate? Let your Merlot complement the richness of a soft, delicate brownie––but be mindful that your Merlot still needs to have a higher sugar content than your brownie, so opt for brownie recipes based on darker cacao.

Is your wine fridge stocked with dessert-friendly drinks for your next dinner party? Our wine experts are here to guide you as you select your dinner (and pre- and post-dinner) drinks! Contact Quigley Fine Wines to learn about our latest selection of imported and domestic wines.