Pairing wine with dessert is trickier than most other food and alcohol combinations, as most tend to believe that a sweet wine will suit a sweet dish, neglecting to identify that the variation of flavor, texture, and method of cooking all affect the wine that will help to elevate the dish.
A good pairing of the two will help ensure that the final part of the meal is not just memorable, but a veritable flavor explosion!
Dark chocolate, or other bitter desserts, are best paired with wines that complement the rich flavors of the dessert. A decent berry-based wine is, according to Underground Cellar, the best choice, especially if there are strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry notes, as berries and chocolate are an excellent combination.
Alternatively, a bold, dry Shiraz with a spicy edge (such as those from Australia) works equally as well, with the spicy notes accompanied by bold berry flavors helping to counteract the bittersweet flavors of the dark chocolate and fattiness of the dessert.
Up-and-coming chocolate-flavored wines are also a good choice to go with – after all, chocolate complements chocolate, right? Sweet and creamy, why not give it a try?
Sweet and Vanilla Desserts
If your dessert choice is light in texture but full of sweet, vanilla flavors (such as a crème brûlée), a sweet white wine will work excellently. A Barsac wine is sweet with tropical notes, perfectly balancing the sugary sweetness of vanilla-based desserts. Equally, a Moscato, with its slight sweetness, works just as well here.
If going off the traditional pairing path, a dry white wine – such as Gewurztraminer – is a balancing choice when it comes to sweet desserts, cutting through the fat and sugar, while adding in a slight spice that creates a complex flavor profile.
Pies and sponge-based desserts work well with wines that have a good balance of dry and sweet in them. A German Riesling is a great option here, as it blends with any spicy flavors while complementing the sweetness. The acidity level of this dessert wine cuts through any fattiness in a custard or pie crust, leaving a crisp acidity on the tongue.
Sweets don’t always need to be paired with an equally sweet wine – simply test out some more acidic or spicy varieties and see which one goes best!