A Guide to Wine and Dessert Pairings
“As the colors of the dessert get darker, the wine gets darker.”
So how to figure out what wine to pick with dessert? There are three factors to consider: acidity (an acidic wine may pair best with a fruit dish, which also has natural acidity), intensity (the more intense the flavors of a dessert, the more intense the wine), and sweetness (a dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert itself).
Focus on the different “dessert” categories when selecting wine:
- Custard and vanilla
- Fruit and spice
- Caramels and chocolates
Custard: Desired Flavors (in the wine and dessert): Mild, light, buttery
Suggested Wine Pairings: White wines (late-harvest Riesling), sparkling wines like demi-sec champagne, and Asti Spumanti.
Fruit & Spice: Desired Flavors (in the wine and dessert): Apples, pears, cinnamon
Suggested Wine Pairings: White wines (Sauternes, late-harvest Gewirtztraminer) and pink champagne.
Caramels & Chocolates: Desired Flavors (in the wine and dessert): Dark, buttery, caramelized, rich.
Suggested Wine Pairings: Red wine (like late-harvest Pinot Noir, Banyuls, Grenache, Australian Shiraz), port (the classic chocolate pairing), and Grappa.
Desired Flavors (in the wine and dessert): Versatile.
Suggested Wine Pairings: Port and champagne.
Suggested Wine Pairings: Ice wine. (It’s a dessert in itself!). And acidic, crisp white wines.