When it comes to pairing food and wine, the secret is to consider wine as an ingredient. It adds the “extra.” Wine enhances tastes, creating an entirely new flavor profile.
In fact, making the perfect dessert and wine pairing can be an incredible way to end a memorable evening.
Vouvray Brut: Made with Chenin Blanc grapes, Vouvray is a crisp, mouth-puckering white wine that adds notes of green apple, pear, and honeysuckle.
If you’re looking for something familiar but also unique, check out sparklers from South Africa, where Chenin Blanc is a super important grape!
Why it works: The acidic bite that comes from a Vouvray Brut slices right through the shortcake and the whipped cream, while the notes of tree fruit beautifully complement the fresh strawberry flavor.
Plus, many Vouvray Brut wines are made using the Traditional method, which adds a somewhat biscuit note that tastes amazing with this treat’s already creamy ingredients.
Dry Riesling: Germany’s favorite wine, Riesling can run the gamut from sweet to bone dry, and carries some amazing notes of citrus and green apple with it.
Especially apparent in drier Riesling is a slatey sense of minerality, which only furthers its complexity.
Why it works: With its bright acidity and fruit flavors, a dry Riesling cuts through the syrupy sweetness of a peach cobbler while only enhancing the dessert’s fruitiness.
The earthier tones that are present in German Riesling will accentuate the flaky crust of a cobbler, while enhancing its more subtle sweetness.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: Studies show that New Zealand brings out more of the telltale passion fruit aromas in wine than any other Sauvignon Blanc in the world.
The Kiwi standard for Sauvignon Blanc has far more fruit to it than its greener, Old World cousins, and that has a lot to do with why it’s so popular today.
Why it works: All of those rich, fruity aromas take the understated balance of white chocolate and add a layer of fruit that doesn’t overpower.
Fino Sherry: The driest of Sherries, Fino Sherry lacks the heavy sweetness that many of its darker cousins are known for, taking on lighter, more subtle notes of almonds, salinity, and a touch of citrus.
While the heavier Oloroso sherries often serve as dessert all on their own, Fino’s understated flavors can be paired with foods far more easily.
Why it works: There’s a spiciness to carrot cake that pairs beautifully with the nuttiness of a Sherry, and a Fino is dry enough that it won’t taste cloyingly sweet on top of that inch-thick vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Additionally, many Fino Sherries have a tangy Jackfruit flavor that contrasts wonderfully with the earthier flavor of the carrot cake itself.
Gewürztraminer: Powerfully aromatic, this wine is known for its perfume of lychee, roses, citrus, and spice.
Though it’s generally acknowledged for being sweet, drier varieties can be found, and are often just as fragrant.
Why it works: Gewürztraminer combines fruit and spice in the same way that a warm apple pie does, making it one of the most obvious dessert and wine pairings on this list!
Apple and citrus, cinnamon and ginger, crust and lychee: it all combines deliciously without being an overpowering explosion.
While some wines make for perfect desserts all on their own, that’s no reason not to look for the perfect after-dinner treats to complement them!
Tell us about your favorite dessert and wine pairing.