If you’re trying to figure out whether you should have another glass of wine after dinner or indulge in dessert, we have good news for you: you can do both! There’s no need to decide between wine and dessert because no matter what kind of sweet you’re craving, there’s likely a wine that pairs perfectly with it. If you want to find the best wine to pair with the dessert you have in mind, keep reading to get some tips on what type of wine goes best with each dessert option.
Some Rules of Thumb to Consider
Before you get started, you should keep some basic guidelines in mind. First, make sure the wine you want is sweeter than the dessert you’re thinking of enjoying after dinner. Otherwise, the wine may taste sour.
You should also try to match similar flavors between the wine and the dessert. So if the wine you want to drink has hints of apple, then you can’t go wrong with an apple pie or apple tart. And if there are vanilla or cocoa flavors in the wine, choosing a cake or cookie with those flavors is a good idea. Read on for some dessert pairings for the most popular types of wine.
Desserts to Pair with White Wines
Since Moscato is among the sweetest wines you can get, you’re going to need to pair it with an equally sweet dessert. Of course, that shouldn’t be hard if you have a sweet tooth. In fact, a lot of fruit-based desserts pair perfectly with Moscato, as they’re not only naturally sweet but also really bring out those notes of fruit in the wine.
Some of the best fruity desserts to pair with this wine include pineapple upside-down cake and blood orange sorbet. If you must have some chocolate to end the night, go for white chocolate over dark or milk chocolate when you’re sipping Moscato.
Slightly less sweet than Moscato, Riesling still tends to have a fruity flavor, which means this is another wine that pairs well with fruit-based desserts. After all, the flavor of Riesling will enhance the sweetness you’ll find in any fruit pie or cobbler. So consider pairing it with apple pie or strawberry shortcake.
This wine also goes well with tangy desserts, like lemon bars. And if you’re craving chocolate to go with your wine, stick with milk chocolate as you sip your Riesling. The flavors in this beverage will complement just about any chocolate cake, cookies, or ice cream you decide to enjoy for dessert.
Being a dry wine, Pinot Grigio tends to not be the best beverage to pair with a rich, sugary dessert. But you can still snack on something indulgent as you sip this wine, as you can just stick to a dessert that’s not overly sweet. Otherwise, the dessert will drown out the complex flavors of your Pinot Grigio.
The best desserts to pair with this white wine are as light, crisp, and fruity as this drink, meaning a lemon pie or berry dessert would work well. Crème brulée is another great option to try. Even a fruit and cheese plate would complement this wine, as it goes well with fresh cheeses like Mozzarella and Feta. If this sounds like a delicious pairing, try our 2020 Pinot Grigio with one or more of the desserts described here.
Many Chardonnay options have hints of tasty flavors you’ll find in the most popular desserts. For example, Sweet Oaks Grandma’s Chardonnay features hints of apple and baking spices, so as you can guess, it pairs well with everything from apple to pumpkin pie.
Chardonnay also goes well with creamy desserts like crème brulée, cheesecake, and vanilla pudding. Shortbread and oatmeal cookies are additional desserts to try with this wine. Basically, you can’t go wrong with pairing the most popular desserts with Chardonnay!
Desserts to Pair with Red Wine
This bold red wine tends to have complex flavors, so you should find desserts that are just as bold and complex. This means avoiding delicate options and going for rich, heavy desserts, like chocolate cake with chocolate icing.
Other options that work well with this wine include chocolate truffles, petit fours, and torte. Note that black cherries and toasted nuts also go well with Cabernet Sauvignon, so consider adding these to any chocolate desserts you decide on.
Another red wine that pairs well with most chocolate desserts is Pinot Noir. However, thanks to the hints of fruit in most varieties of this wine, it’s best enjoyed with dark chocolate.
More specifically, chocolate mousse with whipped cream is a great pairing for Pinot Noir. Dark chocolate pudding is another option to try with this wine.
Merlot is another red wine that pairs perfectly with dark chocolate. After all, it’s a bit too dry and rich to go with super sweet options, making dark chocolate the ideal choice for any occasion.
You can stick with chocolate cake or cookies with your Merlot, or you can get a little fancier with chocolate mousse, tarte, or truffles. Either way, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to pairing a delicious wine with an equally tasty dessert!
Of course, you can also leave out the sweet foods entirely and just enjoy a dessert wine—like a Port or Sherry—by itself. The choice is yours! If you want to check out some options that may go perfectly with the sweets you’re craving, browse our wines today.