Dessert Wine: Why It’s Different From Other Wines and How to Pair It
In the minds of many, the word “dessert wine” conjures up images of syrupy concoctions that leave a bitter taste in the mouth. After all, in today’s health-conscious age oflow-sugar wines, keto diets, andcarb-freeliving, who wants a cloyinglysweet winethat may send your insulin levels rising and leave a sticky feeling on the tongue long after it’s been sipped? (It’s possible that there are a handful of you out there.) While the increasing popularity of dry wines (that is, wines that are not sweet) might appear to spell the end of sweet wines, this is not necessarily the case.
To that end, please allow us to provide you with some background information about dessert wine and how it differs from other types of wines.
What IsDessert Wine?
Dessert wine may be defined as any wine that is consumed during or after dessert in its broadest meaning. Dessert wine, to be more exact, is often sweet, has a distinct taste, and has a higher alcohol concentration. For example, Port, Madeira, Sherry, and late-harvest wines are all examples of late-harvest wines. Traditionnal dessert wines having an alcohol content of more than 15 percent by volume (ABV). Nonetheless, low-alcoholdessert wines with less than 10% alcohol by volume (ABV) are available, such Muscadet, Moscato d’Asti, and Brachetto d’Acqui.
- In other words, the amount of sugar that is left over after the fermentation process has taken place.
- A variety of methods were used by winemakers to create essert wines.
- It might be created from late-harvest grapes that have been allowed to raisinate and increase in sugar content as a result of being kept on the vine for a longer period of time.
- Alternatively, it may be sweetened by fortification, resulting in the production of fortified wines.
- While most dessert wines are on the sweeter side, there is a wide range of styles available under the category of dessert wines.
To be clear, dessert wines are not merely sweet, one-trick ponies, as you may have previously believed. They are deserving of a lot more recognition than that.
What to Look for inDessert Wine
Dessert wines, as previously said, are available in a variety of sweetness levels and are available in both red and white wines. Enjoying these mouthwatering sippers with dessert or as dessert in and of itself is recommended. Furthermore, it’s important to note that dessert wines are designed to be served in little wine glasses, similar to the way you’d sip on a snifter of whiskey or bourbon. (Although we must admit that we are great supporters of single-serve wine bottles that eliminate the need for a glass entirely.) If you desire a sweet dessert wine, you will get a sweet dessert wine.
Keep an eye out for the following descriptors:
Different Types ofDessert Winesand Food Pairings
While there are a plethora of wines that may be enjoyed with dessert, the ones that are featured below are the best examples of the genre. In order to avoid any unpleasant aftertaste when matching wine with sweet dessert, it’s recommended to pick a wine that is sweeter than the dessert itself. According to our enthralling guide on acidity in wine, sugar increases acidity, which is why dry wines taste harsh and sharp when served with sweet meals. With that in mind, here are many varieties of dessert wines, as well as delectable food combinations, that may enhance the flavor and overall experience of your dessert.
Despite the fact that it is best known as a sweet red wine, this fortified wine from Portugal is available in a variety of flavors ranging from deep reds to dry white and dry rosé varieties. Chocolate cake, chocolate truffles, and salted caramel desserts are all wonderful pairings for the sweetly complex redtawny port and ruby port. Serve the white or roséport wines with stone fruit, strawberry angel food cake, or lemon meringue pie to complement the flavors of the wine.
Madeirais is a fortified wine produced in Portugal’s Madeirais region, and it is renowned for its nutty, brown sugar, and burned caramel flavors. This amber-hued wine may be enjoyed on its own after a dinner, or paired with sweets like as astoffeepudding, tiramisu, or spicy treats such as chocolate truffles coated with cayenne pepper.
Known for its honeyed aromas of apricot, peach, butterscotch, and caramel, this cherished (and frequently expensive)sweet wine from France’s Sauternais area inBordeaux is much sought after. Sauternesis one of the “noble rot wines,” which include TokajiAszu wine from Hungary and SpätleseRieslings from Germany. It is prepared from grapes that have been damaged by the botrytis cinereafungus. (This fungus, which sounds disgusting, increases the sweetness of grapes while also imparting a honeyed flavor and aromatic quality.) Served with fresh and dried fruit, as well as heavier sweets such as crème brulee, cheesecake, and custards, Sauternes is a fantastic dessert option.
This fortified wine comes from the country of Spain. Sherry is often served as an aperitif before a meal; however, why not try it after a hearty dinner when you’re looking to wind down?
Fruit sweets like Pedro Ximénez are great accompaniments to crème brulee, vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate anything, or just enjoyed on their own as an after dinner treat.
This delicious sparkling wine from Germany is available in a variety of sweetness levels. Its inherent acidity helps to cut through the sweetness of the dish, making it a wonderful companion to a cheese course or cheesecake after dinner. Serve a sweeter Spätlese with citrus-based sweets such as lemon pound cake or lemon cream pie if you have a sweeter Spätlese on hand. Pear tarts and sorbet are also delicious desserts that go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Another rot wine of distinction, the tongue-twisting Gewürztraminer is a sweet, fragrant wine from the Alsace region of France that has a pleasant sweetness to it. With its lovely floral and lychee overtones, this exquisite white wine pairs perfectly with any dessert that has lychee, pear, or peach as one of the major components, such as ice cream.
In addition to being known as Muscat Blanc in its native country of Italy, Moscato is an extremely popular white wine that has built a name for itself owing to the three F’s that best characterize its character: fizzy, fruity, and flowery. This dessert wine is perfect for enjoying on a spring day or a late summer evening. It is also incredibly flexible. You might serve it with poached pears, grilled peaches, fruit tarts, nutty treats such as biscotti, or whatever else you choose.
Ice wine, also known as Eiswein in German, is a particular sort of wine that is made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Due to the frigid environment required for the production of this dessert wine, it can only be produced in Germany and Canada. (It’s also one of the reasons why it’s a somewhat expensive wine.) Consider matching the red grape type with chocolate desserts and the white grape variety with blue cheeses and cheesecake if you have the choice between the two.
It’s Time for Dessert in a Glass
Following your education on dessert wines, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to use in a variety of real-world scenarios. Dessert wines, like any other type of wine, are characterized by a wide range of tastes and characteristics. Despite the fact that there are several “rules” associated with wine consumption, the basic line is that you are free to set your own guidelines. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a bottle of dry sparkling Brut or wonderfully crisp rosé to accompany those funfetti cupcakes you just brought out of the oven.
Who knows what will happen?
That’s the beauty of wine: no matter how you enjoy it, it is one of life’s joys that makes everything else a little bit easier to swallow.
How to serve fortified and sweet wines
Although we are all familiar with the many types of white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines, we are less familiar with sweet and fortified wines. It’s easy to ignore these unparalleled, flavor-packed classics – because that’s exactly what they are – simply because we’re not sure how, when, or with what to serve them.
As a result, we turned to the professionals for practical advice as well as some intriguing culinary combinations. The discovery of other worlds beyond the exquisite but cliched Port-Stilton and Sauternes-foie gras pairings of old .
Nobly sweet wines
Winemaker Heidi Schröck from Rust in Austria’s Burgenland area prefers to serve her wines between 12°C and 14°C. She makes a nobly sweet Ruster Ausbruch as well as auslese, beerenauslese (BA), and trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) wines. She like ‘unexpected and innovative flavor combinations,’ and she makes this evident on her packaging and labelling. she says, but she also offers pairing prosciutto with spätlese or aged Gouda with BA, chili-cheese sausages with Ausbruch, or a lamb tagine with Ausbruch if you’re looking for something different.
- Chef Aline Baly of Château Coutet in the Bordeaux region has mastered the art of presenting sweet wines with each meal at her establishment.
- So don’t limit yourself to an aperitif or a dessert wine when it comes to these powerful, golden wines.
- “A colder temperature when wines are served with a hot entrée or a sweet dessert,” she says, referring to the recommended serving temperature of 9°C to 10°C.
- It is possible to serve middle-aged wines a couple of degrees warmer in order to enable the warm baking spices to manifest themselves.
- ‘These wines have a lot of character,’ Baly explains.
Matching Sauternes and Barsac with food
Only vintage Ports, according to Anthony Symington, brand manager for Symington Family Estates (which produces the Port labels Graham’s, Warre’s, Dow’s, and Cockburn’s), should be decanted before serving. He distinguishes between the ‘robust, youthful aromas of red fruits’ of bottle-aged ruby and reserve Ports and the ‘greater complexity, nut and raisin characteristics’ of barrel-aged tawny Ports. He also makes a distinction between the ‘robust, youthful aromas of red fruits’ of bottle-aged ruby and reserve Ports.
A bottle that has been opened for three to four weeks will last you three to four weeks.
A 10-year-old tawny port, on the other hand, is a good match for foie gras, according to the expert: ‘The acidity cuts through the richness and the sweetness compliments it well.’ Tawny may be stored in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.
In addition, fresh fruit is an excellent accompaniment.’ Vintage is the only type you have to consume quickly, as it fades after three days of purchase.
Tim Holt, the area director for Bodegas Barbadillo in the United Kingdom, lifts the lid on sweet Sherry types such as sweet oloroso and tooth-breakingly sweet Pedro Ximénez, or PX, and even brings back the much-maligned cream Sherry from the dead in this article. He recommends serving cream and oloroso cold in a tulip-shaped wine glass, although any wine glass would do for the occasion. When it comes to PX, he recommends the following: ‘Pour it over vanilla ice cream or try it in a tumbler glass over crushed ice.’ It works really well in this manner.’ PX is very wonderful when served with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream.
Hot Mexican habanero and Sichuan foods are also recommended: ‘Because of the high sugar content, it has a balsamic effect, which makes it ideal for these highly hot recipes.’ You’ll know what to do with all of that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.
While sweet oloroso may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months, PX does not require refrigeration and is so sweet that it can be stored for “up to a year at a time.”
Sherry and chocolate pairing ideas
Because even ‘dry’ Madeira has a rounded sweetness to it, Chris Blandy of Blandy’s Madeira recommends serving it at 12°C, while medium-rich and rich types (such as Bual and Malmsey) should be served at 15°C-16°C, according to Blandy’s Madeira. There is no need to decant any of the wines, and a tulip-shaped Port glass or a slim white wine glass is recommended. The good news is that ‘Madeira is almost indestructible,’ according to Blandy, who recommends just putting a cork back in, standing the bottle straight, and storing it in a cold, dark cabinet.
In Blandy’s opinion, “Comté with Sercial, roast chicken with Verdelho, foie gras with Bual” are all excellent pairings.
But who’s to say that Christmas cake, Lebkuchen, or mince pies won’t work just as well, if not better than this?
Leftover lusciousness: use every drop
The chef at Quinta do Noval in the Douro Valley transforms leftover late bottled vintage or vintage Port into a delicious, sweet sauce for pancakes, which he serves with fresh fruit. ‘A hefty pat of butter, two teaspoons of brown sugar, and a full glass of Port are required for four persons.’ In a saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar until it is boiling, then stir in the Port and serve. Never stop stirring with a wooden spoon, no matter how tired you are. Allow the alcohol to evaporate for approximately four minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
. You will need a tiny ramekin dish for each individual pudding. This is filled with a digestive biscuit crumbled on top of some sultanas, 30ml of Sherry, and a layer of fresh custard on top of that. . Once the double cream has set, apply another layer on top. .
What can I do with leftover wine? Ask Decanter
Non-fortification procedures include the addition of sugar to the wine or the naturally occurring concentration of sugars in the grapes before they are picked, among other possibilities. Unfortified wines are available in a variety of varieties, the most prevalent and widely consumed of which being ice wines and botrytis cinerea wine. Ice Wine is a type of wine that is served chilled. History of Ice Wine – Ice wine (or Eiswein, as it is known in Germany and Austria) is typically produced in wine-producing regions that are subjected to predictable cold periods.
- When a cold spell hits, the grapes begin to shrivel and freeze.
- Ice wine is particularly popular in Canada and Germany, however it is also produced in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and New Zealand, among other places.
- Ice wine is a very sweet, extremely fruity, but also rather acidic wine that is perfect for pairing.
- Ice wine is also one of the few wines that may be served with a chocolate dessert, which is rare in the wine world.
- Botrytis cinerea wine (also known as “Noble Rot” wine) was named after a fungus that kills grapes under particular climatic circumstances, which may surprise some people.
Dessert Wines 101
RJS Craft Winemaking | November 23, 2017 | RJS Craft Winemaking As you prepare for all of the sweet treats, after dinner desserts, and celebrations that will be taking place this holiday season, we wanted to provide you with a crash course in dessert wines 101 to not only help you understand wines better – but also to provide you with some tips for serving and enjoying these rich, decadent beverages. What are Dessert Wines and How Do They Work? In the context of wine genres, a dessert wine is characterized as being sweet and lush, with flavors that are intense and concentrated.
- Dessert wines, such as Port and Vins Doux Naturels, can also be fortified wines, as can be found in some dessert wines.
- For your convenience, we’ve included some more information on them: Vidal, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc are examples of ice wines.
- Sugars and other dissolved substances do not freeze, but water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a lesser volume of more concentrated, extremely sweet, viscous wine than would otherwise be produced from the grapes.
- Having experienced three consecutive days of temperatures below -10 degrees, the grapes are ready for harvest.
- Germany and Canada are the two countries that manufacture the most Ice Wines.
- The Nobel Prize for Rot: ‘Nobel rot,’ also known as Botrytis, is a form of fungus that shrivels and decays wine grapes that can arise in the course of ice winemaking on extremely rare instances.
- It has two effects on wine: it increases the sweetness level while also increasing the flavor richness.
Temperature for service: 6 to 9 degrees The following foods go well together: blue cheese with dried apricots, crème brûlée, and apple strudel.
Cru is a specialty.
Sherry, Port, and Madeira are examples of fortified wines.
In spite of the high brix, this results in an alcohol level of around 18 percent.
There are three different styles: Ruby, Vintage, and Tawny.
Red berries, raisins, chocolate, and spices make up the majority of the flavor profile.
Special Crafting Tip: You may also add Brandy to your handmade dessert wine before bottling to further customize it!
Serving Dessert Wines According to the Rules of Thumb Is it better to have it chilled or room temperature?
Red wines should be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Simple dessert combinations, such as Port with warm chocolate torte or Ice Wine with handmade vanilla ice cream, are the most successful, according to the experts.
Aside from that, these wines pair well with saltier dishes (think blue cheese!).
One common misperception regarding dessert wines is that they must be paired with a sweet dish.
While there are some incredible dessert combinations to go with these wines, the wine itself is also a fantastic treat on its own. Consider serving a handcrafted, luscious dessert wine as part of your holiday meal dessert this year to mix things up a bit.
How Sweet It Is: A Guide to Dessert Wine
An absolutely beautiful way to conclude a dinner. Because dessert wines are such a broad category, it is likely that you haven’t yet discovered the kind that suits your tastes and preferences. Sipping a dessert wine while enjoying a creamy flan, a slice of dark chocolate cake, or a cheese board is a fantastic way to end a dinner in the evening. Alternatively, skip dessert altogether and close the dinner on a sweet note with glasses of sauternes, ice wine, or port instead.
Dessert Wine Basics
It should come as no surprise that all dessert wines begin with grapes that have a high concentration of natural sugar. When that natural sugar is transformed into alcohol during the fermentation process, the wine is referred to be “dry.” Wines that have had all of the natural sugar fermented out of them are referred to as “sweet.” In the case of dessert wines, winemakers halt the fermentation process early in order to preserve the natural sweetness. Depending on the grape variety, dessert wines can range from a little hint of sweetness to a full-on sugar-bomb in terms of sweetness.
Sparkling Dessert Wine
Surprise, surprise, all dessert wines begin with grapes that contain a high concentration of natural sugars. When that natural sugar is transformed into alcohol during the fermentation process, the wine is referred to be “dry.” Wines that have had all of the sugar fermented out are referred to as “sweet.” The fermentation of dessert wines is stopped early in order to preserve the wine’s inherent sweetness. Depending on the grape variety, dessert wines can range from a little hint of sweetness to a full-on sugar-bomb in terms of sweetness and intensity.
Concentrated, Rich Dessert Wine
There are a few of different techniques for creating these exceptionally rich wines. Prior to crushing the grapes, procedures are performed to concentrate the sugar content of the grapes using any of the several ways. One method is to create a late-harvest wine, which involves keeping the grapes on the vine for as long as possible into the growing season in order to get maximum sugar levels, sometimes even until the first frost has arrived (known as ice wine). It is also possible to make wine using the passito process, in which grapes are dried on straw mats, resulting in delicious raisins that are then fermented into wine.
Toutes of these exquisite dessert wines have an opulent, thick texture with complex aromas of honey, marmalade, and spices to complement them.
Dried Dates and Blue Cheese or Blue Cheese Gougeres with Caramel and Salt are two traditional pairings that you should try out.
Fortified wines are typically between 18 and 20 percent alcohol by volume, making them ideal for keeping warm throughout the harsh winter months.
Ruby port, which has more dark, rich fruit to it and is a popular combination with chocolate truffles, whereas tawny port, which has more butterscotch, caramel, and nutty overtones, is a more recent addition to the family of port varieties. Try pairing a tawny port with a cheese plate for an after-dinner feast that will be remembered!
Sherry is a fortified wine produced in the Spanish region of Andaluca, on the country’s southern coast. The first crucial thing to know about sherry is that it ranges from bone-dry and delicate to crazily rich and syrupy, depending on the variety. For dessert, search for sherries in the following three types: cream, moscatel, and Pedro Ximenez. While dry varieties like as fino and Amontillado are popular as aperitifs and are making a reappearance on bar menus as the foundation for cocktails, dessert sherries should be sweet (PX).
PX sherry may be served over ice cream, and cream style sherries pair well with custard-based sweets such as flan or crème caramel, which are both popular in Spain.
Madeira is a fortified wine that was called for the island where it was produced, which is approximately four hundred kilometers off the coast of North Africa. From the fifteenth through the seventeenth century, the island of Madeira served as a port of call for ships sailing to the New World and the East Indian Ocean. The early Madeiras were produced as a wine that could withstand travel: brandy was frequently added to the barrels to keep the wine from deteriorating during the journey. The tremendous heat from travelling around the equator, along with the continual movement of the ships, resulted in the wine becoming organically concentrated and oxidized.
The fact that Madeira has previously been effectively “cooked” means that it is famed for never spoiling: there is Madeira from the late 18th century that is still wonderfully palatable today.
Dessert Wine Pairing 101: How to Serve Wine with Sweet Holiday Treats
To select the perfect dessert wine combination, look for varietals that have a sweetness level that matches the sweetness of the dessert. Delicious sweets are abundant throughout the holiday season, ranging from nutty and caramelized pecan pie to spicy gingerbread cookies and more. Discovering the ideal dessert wine combination for each of these classic desserts elevates the experience to a whole new level of decadence. An earthy, honey-likeRiesling may bring out the nutmeg and cinnamon flavors in a slice of pumpkin pie, while a rich, fruityvintage port can lend a sophisticated layer of fruitiness to a cup of creamy chocolate mousse.
Finding the ideal dessert wine combination, on the other hand, might be difficult, especially if you, like the majority of people, plan on serving more than one dessert this season.
This year, you’ll be able to conclude all of your Christmas gatherings on a high note by investing in the correct bottles and selecting wines that suit the tastes of each dessert.
Serve True Dessert Wines with Dessert
When it comes to matching wine with dessert, one of the most common mistakes wine enthusiasts make is concentrating too much on the flavor of the wine itself rather than thinking how the wine will interact with the food. Even if a bottle of 2005 Château Pontet-Canetis is uncommon and of high quality, if you serve this wine together with a sweet dessert, the wine may appear overly acidic and tannic in contrast. The combination does this great wine absolutely no honor at all, in my opinion. When your taste receptors are exposed to high-sugar meals such as pie or cheesecake, they get momentarily acclimated to the high quantities of sugar.
- This is true whether you’re pouring a $20 bottle of table wine or a $5,000 bottle of Pétrus, among other things.
- For one thing, it allows you to commemorate a particular event by sharing your wine with friends and family, or simply enjoy the wine that you have carefully selected.
- A proper dessert wine is either extremely sweet or fortified with distilled spirits, such as brandy, to make it more robust.
- Tokaji, Viognier, and some varieties ofRiesling are among of the other popular and valued sweet wines produced.
- When purchasing a high-quality dessert wine collection, there are a few aspects that you should keep in mind.
Getting Creative with Dessert Wine Pairings
It’s not necessary to restrict yourself to vintageTaylor Fladgate orChâteau d’Yquem when looking for the perfect dessert wine to complement your meal (although these are foolproof selections). There is no restriction on the type of wine you may serve with your dessert, as long as the wine is on the sweeter side of the spectrum and fits the flavor of your dessert. For example, fruit-based sweets that are lower in sugar content can be combined with wines that are lower in sugar content. Desserts that are more indulgent and rich (such as chocolate pots de crème) will combine better with wines that are sweeter in flavor.
In order to select the best wine for any dessert, one of the simplest strategies is to reject any wines that are much lighter or darker in color than the dessert that will be served.
Although this guideline is not always applicable, it will assist you in narrowing down your selection of probable pairings to only the most dependable ones.
Are there any characteristics in the wine’s tasting notes that are similar to the ones in your dessert?
Additionally, Sauternes is known for its tropical fruit notes, which would pair nicely with any foods that have a lot of citrus or pineapple. Now that you’ve learned the fundamentals of wine pairing with dessert, here are a few dessert wines that you should always have on hand.
The Best Dessert Wine Pairings for Holiday Classics
It’s not necessary to limit yourself to vintageTaylor Fladgate orChâteau d’Yquem when looking for the perfect dessert wine for your occasion (although these are foolproof selections). You can use nearly any wine variety you want as long as it is on the sweeter side of the spectrum and has a flavor that complements the flavor of your dessert. If you make a fruit-based dessert that is not too sweet, you can pair it with a wine that is not too sweet. Chocolate pots de crème, for example, are best paired with sweeter wines because they are more decadent and rich.
- In order to choose the best wine for any dessert, one of the simplest tricks is to eliminate any wines that are significantly lighter or darker in color than the dessert that will be served.
- Although this rule is not always applicable, it will assist you in narrowing down your list of possible pairings to only the most dependable ones in most situations.
- Is there a flavor in the wine’s tasting notes that corresponds to the flavors in the dessert you served?
- Also known for its tropical fruit flavors, Sauternes is a delicious accompaniment to any dish that includes citrus or pineapple.
Crème brûléeand custards
Any custard-based dessert should be paired with a sweet white wine. Wines with a tropical or citrus fruit taste complement this dish particularly well since the custard’s richness makes them a good match for the wine. Custard and wines with caramel flavors go along like peanut butter and jelly.
- Among the wines available are Château D’Yquem (2014), Domaine Charbay Charbay (1997), Château Pajzos Tokaji Esszencia (1993), and Château Pajzos Tokaji Esszencia (2014).
Fresh fruit or fruit pies
Match the fruit notes in your wine with the fruit notes in your pastries. Wines that match well with stone fruits (such as peaches) are white wines, whereas red wines that pair well with dark fruits (such as cherry, plum, or blackberry) are red wines.
- Match the fruit notes in your desserts to the fruit notes in the wine you’re serving with your dessert. Wines that match well with stone fruits (such as peaches) are white wines, whereas red wines that pair well with dark fruits (such as cherry, plum, and blackberry) are red wines.
Pecan pie and other extremely sweet desserts
Pecan pie’s extremely sweet and robust tastes will overshadow practically any wine, with the exception of a high-quality port.
- 2017 Fonseca Vintage Port
- 2017 Taylor Fladgate Porto Vintage
Chocolate cake and other dark chocolate treats
Pair chocolate cake with a hearty red wine, such as port, to complete the meal.
- Dow’s Vintage Port (2017 vintage)
- Quinta Do Noval Nacional Vintage Port (2016 vintage)
- 2009 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port (2009 vintage). Quinta De Vargellas Vinha Velha Vintage Port
- Quinta De Vargellas Vinha Velha Vintage Port
- Quinta De Vargellas
The wines you purchase not only provide a fantastic dessert wine complement for any holiday gathering, but they also serve as a long-term financial asset should you decide to store the wine and resell it in the future as well.
Collecting Dessert Wines
When it comes to financial investments, a wine collection is unusual because you have the option of either drinking your bottles right away or storing them and reselling them for a profit once their value has increased. Neither sweet dessert wines nor superb tannic wines like Nebbiolo or Sangiovese are exempt from this rule. When investing in white wines, Sauternes, particularly Château d’Yquem, might be an excellent choice, especially if purchased young or en primeur. Therefore, it’s necessary to have at least a few dessert wines in your collection, even if you’re not sure if you’ll drink them during the current holiday season or not.
Dessert wines, in a way, have some of the greatest versatility of any type of wine available on the market.
By having a number of dessert wines ready and waiting in your house or in a professional storage facility, you can add a touch of luxury to the holidays while also adding considerable value to your investment portfolio and increasing the value of your investment portfolio.
Whether you are just beginning your high-end wine collection or adding to an existing one, Vinfolio is your go-to resource for purchasing, selling, and professional storage of your fine wines. Contact us today to have access to some of the world’s most exquisite wines.
At Vinfolio, we assist our clients with the purchase, sale, storage, and management of their most prized bottles of wine. While working, we’re just a group of passionate and slightly crazy oenophiles who like nothing more than a good glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a Bordeaux to get the party started. We’re continually obsessing about the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share our expertise and enthusiasm for wine with our readers through this website.
The complete guide to fine dessert wines
The huge world of wine might be difficult to navigate if you have a sweet craving, and this is especially true. After all, well-known and’serious’ wines are generally dry, and they tend to generate a far greater buzz than sweet wines, which are sometimes seen as a beginner wine drinker’s preferred beverage. However, this is a seriously incorrect point of view. Sweet wine was formerly the most popular and sought-after kind of wine in the world, and the world’s first officially recognized wine area – Tokaji in eastern Hungary, which specializes in sweet whites – was established in 1737, making it the world’s oldest.
Here’s all you need to know about the process.
What makes a wine sweet?
If you have a sweet craving, it might be difficult to traverse the huge world of wine. For one thing, well-known and’serious’ wines are frequently dry, and they tend to generate a far greater buzz than sweet wines, which are sometimes seen as the drink of choice for rookie wine drinkers. However, this is a seriously erroneous point of view to have. Sweet wine was formerly the most popular and most sought-after kind of wine in the world, and the world’s first officially recognized wine area – Tokaji in eastern Hungary, which specializes in sweet whites – was established in 1737, making it the world’s oldest.
The following information can assist you.
How is sweetness in wine measured?
If you have a sweet craving, navigating the huge world of wine might be difficult. After all, well-known and’serious’ wines are generally dry, and they tend to generate a far greater buzz than sweet wines, which are sometimes seen as the drink of choice for rookie wine drinkers. However, this is a seriously erroneous point of view. Sweet wine was once the most popular and prized kind of wine in the world, and the world’s first officially recognized wine area – Tokaji in eastern Hungary, which specializes in sweet whites – was established in 1737.
In today’s market, sweet wines account for a major portion of the total, with vintage ports, Sauternes, and the afore-mentioned Tokaji, among others, commanding high market share, aging potential, and value. Here’s all you need to know about the subject.
What are the different types of sweet wine?
Hundreds of various varieties of dessert wines are available on the international market, but the most popular are as follows: Moscato Most Moscato wine refers to a type of sparkling wine known as Moscato d’Asti, which is made from a grape variety grown in the Piedmont area of Italy and is sweet and mildly effervescent. Although it is produced in a variety of countries, it is mostly cultivated and harvested in Spain, France, Portugal, and Greece. It’s light and refreshing, loaded with a combination of fruit flavors such as pineapple, lime, pear, and orange, yet it may taste a little like apple or grape juice in rare situations.
- It is widely regarded as the “King of Dessert Wines.” Using a fungus known as noble rot to ferment the grapes, the wine develops a mild nuttiness that is complemented by notes of honey, peaches, and apricots.
- Riesling Riesling is a white wine produced in the Rhineland area of Germany.
- The soil in which Riesling is grown has a significant impact on its flavor profile, considerably more so than with other varieties of wine.
- The Riesling grape, like other dessert wines, is harvested late in the season, when the fruit has had enough time to develop its maximum sweetness before being picked.
- In Hungary and Slovakia, rigorous laws allow only a handful of varietals to be used in the production of this wine, which is highly sugary and bursting with aromas of caramel and honey as it matures in the bottle.
- Icewine (also known as Eiswein) is a type of wine made from ice.
- A wine that requires a high level of specialized knowledge and complexity to create, it reveals intensely concentrated, rich fruit flavors that are counterbalanced by a crisp elegance and rocky minerality.
What about sweet red wines?
Sweet wines are often associated with white varietals, but there are plenty of red options available as well. Vintage port, of course, is the most well-known of them all. Wine manufactured largely in Portugal’s Duoro Valley from a variety of varietals that provide rich, powerful fruit flavors and an aromatic sweetness that can have an alcohol content as high as 20 percent.
In addition to effervescent reds like Lambrusco and sparkling Shiraz like Brachetto d’Aqui, sweet reds like Schiava, Black Muscat and Dornfelder are available in medium-bodied varieties like Schiava, Black Muscat and Dornfelder.
How long can sweet wines age?
Sweet wines are among the most reliable choices for long-term storage. These wines, which are produced with an emphasis on acidity and extra preservation power in the form of high sugar and occasionally alcohol content, are renowned for their lengthy shelf life. Vintage Port is designed to be matured for at least 15 years, while many decades are preferable for maximum flavor. Tokaj and Sauternes, on the other hand, are wines that may be matured for decades, resulting in auction prices for ancient bottles that have broken all previous records.
Compared to when the wine was young, this achieves a better balance on what would have tasted like plain sugar.
What’s the best way to serve sweet wine?
Because sweet wines – particularly very sweet types – are typically drank slowly, the conventional 175ml serving size is not appropriate for them. Many sweet wines are available in half-bottle sizes, which are appropriate for their intense flavor. Nonetheless, a conventional wine glass should be used to serve these wines, especially because doing so allows for the swirling and smelling that is such an important part of the enjoyment of these wines. They should be served slightly cold to moderate the sense of sweetness while without interfering with the delicate flavors that are characteristic of this kind of wine.
How to Pair Wine with Chocolate (and Other Desserts)
Discover more about our review method here. Our editors independently investigate, test, and suggest the finest goods. We may gain a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links. What’s the difference between wine and chocolate? There is no longer any reason to do so, thanks to the abundance of delectable dessert wines available. Contrary to common perception, your favorite bottle of red wine is definitely not the best pairing for your favorite sweet treat. However, with so many different alternatives available, you’re sure to discover the ideal bottle to complement your dessert.
What Is the Most Important Rule for Pairing Wine with Chocolate?
Wine and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly, and the golden rule for combining them is that the wine should always be sweeter than the dessert. Reduced sweetness in the wine often results in a less-than-delightful flavor that is sour or bitter to the extreme. You’ll be on your way to a delectable match in no time if you remember just one rule: keep it simple.
Can I Pair Dry Wines with Chocolate?
Dry wines, on the whole, don’t pair well with chocolate, for the most part. If you want to match wine with chocolate (or other sweet delights), always remember that the former should be sweeter than the latter, according to the golden rule mentioned above. Exceptions can be made in rare cases (for example, Beaujolais or Zinfandel), but we recommend erring on the side of caution and opting for a bottle of sweet wine rather than a sweet wine.
Do Certain Wines Go Better with Milk Chocolate Versus Dark Chocolate?
In a way, yes!
Certain wines will pair well with different types of chocolate (see our quick reference guide below), while milk and dark chocolate pairings are more interchangeable than white chocolate pairings (see our quick reference guide below). The sweetness of the chocolate is responsible for this.
Are Fortified Wines Good with Chocolate?
Absolutely! Fortified wines are some of the greatest matches with chocolate that can be found. While many white-grape-based fortified wines (think lighter sherry varieties) pair well with both white and darker chocolates, we recommend conserving red fortified wines (such as port) for drinking with milk or dark chocolate instead of the other way around.
Which Wines Pair Best with Chocolates That Contain Nuts or Other Fillings?
It is dependent on the type of chocolate. Before thinking about the fillings, we recommend starting with the basic chocolate (white, milk, or dark). Remember that coming up with your own unique and imaginative wine and chocolate combinations can be a lot of fun as well. Do you happen to have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup handy? Try mixing it with a sweet sparkling red wine for a taste that is reminiscent of peanut butter and jelly. Do you like chocolates with caramel filling? Consider mixing it with wines (tawny port, for example) that have similar caramel flavors for an out-of-this-world experience.
A Quick Guide
Wines that pair with white chocolate include the following: Late-harvest Moscato d’Asti (Moscato d’Asti Late-Harvestriesling) Sauternes gewurztraminer, for example. Ice wine is a type of wine that is frozen (eiswein) Wines that go well with milk chocolate include: Portuguese: (ruby or tawny) Madeira is a small island off the coast of Portugal (malmsey) Brachetto d’acquiRutherglenmuscato d’acqui d’acqui Sherry (amontillado or oloroso) is a kind of sherry. Wines that pair with dark chocolate include the following: Natural wine (banyuls/maury) with a sweet taste Sherry from Pedro Ximenez Recioto della Valpolicella (Valpolicella Recioto) Vin santo (holy wine) (Italy) Here are six different bottles to try.
Serving Dessert Wines
|Food and wine have been paired for centuries, most likely because people believe some combinations just taste better when they are together than when served alone. Traditional rules of pairing are not often followed for modern meals, partially because people have found they prefer to rely on their individual tastes to decide which combinations taste the best.Dessert wines, however, are almost always served with fruit or bakery sweets, although they are sometimes enjoyed alone after the meal. True appreciation of that type of wine, though, begins with knowing what sets them apart from other types.Although many vintners will disagree, the creation of a fine vintage does not necessarily begin in the vineyard. Granted, there are a few varieties that are known for being especially sweet, but many of them require additional flavorings to stave off blandness. The sweetness of grapes can even be enhanced by harvesting them later or by exposing them to more sunlight, both of which can be difficult to control.As a result, many dessert wines are not a result of the grape growing process, but of the amount of sugar added before or after fermentation. In Germany, for example, sugar is increased by adding grape juice after fermentation, which has the side effect of lowering the alcohol content. Other techniques for increasing sweetness include using grapes that have a specific type of mold on them, freezing out some of the water, or drying the grapes before fermentation.Wines and spirits are classified according to the variety of grapes included, alcohol content, color and flavor, and the classifications vary. In the UK, for example, dessert wines are any sweet wine that is consumed with a meal, while the United States applies that name to any wine that has more than 14% alcohol.Although the definition may vary by country and vineyard, everyone agrees that they are the sweetest of all wines. Typically, they are not fortified and they have a higher sugar and alcohol content than other types of wines.There are those who will argue that wines should be selected according to the meal being served, while others feel the selection should be based entirely on what tastes good. Regardless of which side is taken, there is a universal agreement that sweetness is a taste reserved for dessert, whether served with actual food or enjoyed alone. Of course, the best way to decide which dessert wines to serve, and whether to serve it with an actual dessert, is to taste several and figure out what suits your palate.|
Simple Dessert and Wine Pairings With Chart
Karen Frazier contributed to this report. Karen is a wine, drink, and cuisine aficionado who enjoys traveling. She has a California Wine Appellation Specialist credential from the San Francisco wine school, as well as a Bar Smarts mixology certificate, and she works as a bartender for charity events. Specialist in the Appellations of California Wine (CWAS) In order for LoveToKnow to be a participant in affiliate relationships, it is possible that a portion of purchases from links on this page will be paid to it.
Our editorial content is not influenced by these relationships in any way.
A solid combination brings out the flavors of both the wine and the dessert to their full potential.
Raspberry, strawberry, and other berry wines are produced by a large number of wineries.
These wines pair wonderfully with dark chocolate treats because they have a traditional taste profile. Chocolate and berries mix together like peanut butter and jelly, and the sweetness of the wine wonderfully balances the sharpness of the chocolate.
When combined with dark chocolate, Ruby Port offers a deep, rich, dark fruit flavor that is unbeatable. As a matter of fact, it’s a fantastic traditional combination that’s definitely worth trying since it successfully balances the bitterness of dark chocolate with the sweetness of dark fruit.
Although it may seem like a no-brainer, chocolate and chocolate go together like peanut butter and jelly. Creamy chocolate wines, such as Chocovine, have a mild, milk chocolate flavor with a warmth that is nearly like a fortified wine in taste and texture. These smooth, creamy wines pair well with dark chocolate because they temper the intensity of the chocolate’s flavor while yet providing similar flavor characteristics.
Big, rich, fruit-forward notes that taste like berries and jam are commonly found in this powerful, spicy red from Australia that is also dry and peppery. While the Shiraz is dry, the fruit notes of the dessert pair beautifully with the dark chocolate, and the tannins help to cut through the fattiness of the dish. The dryness of the wine also helps to balance the sweetness of the chocolate, while the flavors of the jam help to soften any bitterness.
Wines With Crème Brûlée and Vanilla-Flavored Desserts
With its rich, creamy vanilla custard and caramelized sugar topping, this dessert is the perfect way to cap off a dinner. Pairing it with a dessert wine enhances the flavor of the meal even further.
Sauternes or Barsac
Traditionally, crème brûlée is served with sweet white wine from the Bordeaux area, which is the most traditional wine combination. Both Sauternes and Barsac wines are produced from grapes that have been infected with botrytis cinera, which is found in Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. The presence of this fungus adds layers of complexity to the wines, and the lateness of the harvest results in a high residual sugar level in the finished product. A luscious, sweet wine with tropical aromas and a great, balanced acidity is produced as a consequence, which is well complemented by the vanilla custard.
This white variety has a subtle sweetness to it that makes it enjoyable. Apricots and almonds are typical tastes found in Moscato wines, and they pair well with the rich vanilla custard in this dessert. In addition, pairing a Moscato with crème brûlée helps to balance out the richness of the custard since, while it has a modest sweetness, it is not overpoweringly sweet like other dessert wines.
This German dry whitemay seem like an odd pairing with a thick crème brûlée at first glance, but when you consider the wine’s taste and balance, it makes perfect sense. Gewürztraminer is a dry, spicy wine with a pleasant acidity that pairs well with food. The acidity of the wine helps to cut through the fat of the custard, and the dryness of the wine serves to temper the sweetness of the dessert. In this dessert, the delicate vanilla notes of the crème brûlée are complemented by the spiciness of the Gewürztraminer.
Pairing Wine With Apple Pie and Apple or Pear Desserts
Using this German dry white with a creamy crème brûlée may seem like an odd pairing at first, but when you consider the flavors and balance, it makes perfect sense. – It’s a dry wine with a spicy flavor and a pleasant acidity. Because of the acidity, the custard’s fat is cut through, and the dryness of the wine serves to balance the sweetness of the dessert.
In this dessert, the gentle vanilla tastes of the crème brûlée are complemented by the spiciness of Gewürztraminer. These are excellent dessert wines if you like your sweets to be a little less sugary than the norm.
It is possible to find Riesling from Germany with varying degrees of dryness and sweetness. The three finest apple dessert combinations are Kabinett, Spätlese, and Auslese, which are listed in order of sweetness from least sweet to most sweet. Riesling has a strong level of acidity, which helps it to cut through the sweetness of the pie perfectly. A subtle spicy flavor that fits well with the pie ingredients is also present in this mixture. Finally, the taste profile of Riesling is generally dominated by apples, pears, and other tree fruits, and the flavor of apples is a good match for the flavor of the wine.
Auslese is the wine you pick if you want a lot of sweetness in your wine.
There are various amounts of dryness and sweetness in Riesling from Germany. For apple dessert combinations, the three finest selections are Kabinett, Spätlese, and Auslese, which are listed in descending order of sweetness from least to most sugary. Riesling has a strong level of acidity, which helps it to cut through the sweetness of the pie. A subtle spicy flavor that fits well with the pie ingredients is also included in this recipe. The flavor profile of Riesling is frequently dominated by apple and pear flavors, with other tree fruits like as apricots and peaches also being prominent.
Auslese is a good choice if you want a wine with a lot of sweetness in it.
This Italian white wine has a subtle fizz and a mild sweetness, making it a refreshing summer drink. It also includes pleasant fruit flavors such as apples and pears, which makes it a fantastic match for an apple pie dessert. Despite the fact that Moscato d’Asti is slightly sweet, it is not overbearing, so you will not be putting extremely sweet on top of super sweet in your dessert.
Lemon Meringue Pie and Citrus Curd Wine Pairing
Because lemon sweets, such as lemon meringue pie, are naturally acidic, they can be paired with wines that are rather sweet in comparison.
Ice wines are prepared from white wine grapes that have been harvested after the first frost has occurred, allowing the sugars to become more concentrated. Ice wines become delectably sweet as a result of this. This sweetness helps to temper the acidity of lemon sweets, resulting in a wonderful and satisfying match.
Late Harvest Whites
When white wine grapes are harvested after the first frost, the sugars are condensed and the wine is known as ice wine. Ice wines become delectably sweet as a result of this technique. Lemon sweets benefit from its sweetness since it helps to balance the acidity of the lemon. It’s a delightful combination.
A dryChampagneor sparkling wine will also go well with a lemon meringue pie, as will a dessert wine.
As with the crust’s characteristics, the biscuity notes of Champagne are a good complement for the meringue’s toasty flavor. Finally, Champagne has a tendency to be dry, which will help to balance the sweetness of the dessert.
Pumpkin Pie and Warm Spice Desserts Wine Pairing
Pumpkin pie and other pumpkin sweets tend to be sweet, creamy, and spicy, with a hint of cinnamon and clove. Numerous wines mix nicely with these characteristics, counterbalancing the creaminess and enhancing the spice notes.
Tawny Port is distinguished by its golden hue and its warm, rich taste. Although the fortified wine is often sweet, it also has delicious caramel and spice tastes that go nicely with the pumpkin and spices. The strong alcohol content of the pumpkin custard helps to balance out the creaminess of the custard.
Australian Dessert Muscat
This is a fortified wine that is comparable to a tawny Port in taste and appearance. It boasts a delicious combination of sweet and spicy aromas, as well as a pleasing golden appearance. Wine drinkers frequently describe the tastes of this wine as toasty, raisiny, or toffee-like. Pumpkin pie benefits from the combination of these warm tastes and the warm spices.
This fortified wine from Portugal is available in a variety of sweetness levels, ranging from dry to sweet. Choose a sweet or semi-sweet Madeira to combine with your pumpkin dish, depending on your preference. Among the many characteristics found in Madeirate are smoky, peppery, and nutty, all of which complement the flavor of pumpkin. The high alcohol concentration also serves to perfectly complement the rich, creamy custard.
Hungarian Tokaji has rainy notes that go well with the spiciness of pumpkin pie and other sweets with a similar flavor profile. Dessert wine has a pleasant sweetness to it that goes well with the spice in the pie.
Tiramisu and Mocha Dessert Wine Pairings
Many wines will pair well with tiramisu and other sweets with a coffee flavoring. Coffee is a taste that combines nicely with a variety of flavor characteristics, according to the experts.
The color of this sweet Italian dessert wine has a lovely golden hue. It has a nutty flavor, similar to that of hazelnuts, with a hint of sweetness. Nuts and coffee go together like peanut butter and jelly, so a glass of Vin Santo will go a long way in balancing out the coffee flavor of the tiramisu.
Cream Sherry is a sweet fortified wine with a chocolate hue that is made from grapes. In tiramisu, it has a nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness, which helps to balance out the harshness of the coffee components in the dessert.
The color of this fortified wine is a rich maroon, and it has a subtle sweetness to it. Ruby Port is known for being fruit driven, with tastes of berries dominating the aromas and sensations. It also has slight notes of nutmeg in the background. The aromas of berries and nuts are a fantastic compliment to the flavors of coffee and espresso.
Whatever the dessert (summer pudding or raspberry pie), berry desserts pair nicely with a wide range of wines that enhance their tastes and textures.
Rosé wine is available in a variety of styles, from dry to sweet, and it has delicate floral and berry flavors that go well with berry sweets. If you’re serving sugary sweets, a drier rosé will help to balance out the sweetness.
In the Rhône Valley, there is a sweet fortified wine called Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise.
It features sweet, honeyed, and citrus aromas that pair nicely with berries and berry desserts of all types and varieties.
The sparkling wine produced in Spain Cava may be either dry or sweet, and both are complementary to berries. Choose drier rosé wines to pair with sweeter sweets and sweeter rosé wines to pair with less sweet desserts to create a sense of balance and contrast in your meal.
Wine and Dessert Pairing Chart
The following chart outlines several excellent wines to pair with desserts, as well as a recommendation or two of specific wines for each type of dessert.
Matching Wine and Dessert
While the options above might serve as a starting point, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to combining wines and sweets. Pair your favorite wines with your favorite treats. Look for tastes that complement one another and wines that will assist you in achieving the amount of sweetness you seek, and you’ll end up with a delectable match. LoveToKnow Media was founded in the year 2022. All intellectual property rights are retained.