There’s nothing like finding the perfect wine for your dessert. It can bring the sweet to life, amplify flavor, enhance the texture and take you to a whole new world. When it comes to pairing wine with desserts, it is not as simple as it may seem. Generally, there are three factors to take into account when pairing wine with desserts:
Firstly, the acidity of the wine, which as it increases usually compliments desserts with a fruity element. Secondly, you have to consider the intensity of the wine, because it should match the intensity of flavors in the dessert. And finally, the wine should be as sweet as the dessert itself without overwhelming it. The key is to find balance, that sweet spot where both the dessert’s and the wine’s maximum potentials are unleashed.
These are some basic rules that you need to follow, but here are some specific tips for three classic desserts at every dining table:
Due to the creamy textures and bittersweet taste, chocolate mousse pairs well with alcoholic sweet wines and berry wines. The sweetness of the wines balances the bitterness of the chocolate, creating perfect harmony between their contrasting tastes.
Shiraz works well with rich, dark desserts like chocolate mousse. The spicy, fruity red wine certainly has some striking qualities, and balances well with the dessert. Another great choice would be a chocolate wine, with light flavor to keep the bitter element at bay. Fortified reds, like plum-flavoured Maury or a sweet Madeira will compliment the mousse quite well.
Pair with an aged dessert wine with a nutty complexion that will blend with the coffee element of the tiramisu, such as Vin Santo, which is an Italian wine with a hazelnut flavor that tastes wonderful with this desert. It also goes well with sweet, complex, fortified wines such as Cream Sherry and Ruby Port (which has a nutty berry flavor that compliments the coffee). Some other sweet whites that pair well with tiramisu are Barsac, Sauternes, and moscato wines such as Moscat de Lunel, Moscat de Frontignan and Moscat de Mireval.
For this sweet and spicy classic dessert, pairing gets complex and interesting, as it pairs with light or full bodied wines. I prefer to use sweet German wines with apple pie, like a late harvest Riesling whose acidity reduces the sweetness of the pie, Kabinett or an Auslese (which leans over slightly to the sweeter side, when compared to the Kabinett). Another German wine that works beautifully with apple pie is Côteaux du Layon. You certainly can’t go wrong with a glass of fizzy Moscato d’Asti; it’s mild sweetness, low alcohol content and fruity flavors nicely balance the fruitiness of the apple pie.
Another great choice for this dessert is Tawny Port, a fortified wine with a lovely sticky sweet, caramel flavor which makes a great option for apple pie.
Thalia Bell has always had a passion for writing. She recently took a trip to France and visited Bordeaux, where she fell in love with wine, and has been a fan of cheese from a young age; when she put the two together, she felt a sense of satisfaction, and since then, has attended many wine and cheese tastings.