There are familiar combinations of good wines and dishes that even novices know about: white to fish, red to meat. But when it comes to pairing wine with dessert, even experienced wine lovers are stumped. So how to make no mistakes and finish dinner beautifully and elegantly?
Simple rules of combination
Recent events in the world have once again shown us that we need to appreciate every moment of life and be able to enjoy simple pleasures. So why not indulge yourself for once, turning a blind eye to diets and the fashion for dry wines, and indulging in some real hedonism: with pastries, desserts and sweet wine.
Every sommelier school teaches you that the wine must be on par with the sweetness of the dish, otherwise the former will be too acidic and tasteless, while the latter will be too sugary. An important rule is also to match some of the notes of the wine with the taste of the dessert. Sometimes this principle is even formulated as “the darker the dessert, the darker the wine should be paired.
The basic rules of the ideal pairing
All experts unanimously advise pairing sweet dishes with fortified wines. They are strong, rich, fragrant, which means that the dessert will not be able to dull all the interesting nuances of the drink. But this option doesn’t always work – there are so many desserts: creamy, chocolatey, fruity, mousse. Each has its own richness, its own level of sweetness, texture, flavor combinations and aromas.
So the only rule that really needs to be remembered is this: every dessert has its own wine, and you have to choose it wisely!
Desserts and Sparkling Wine
If you are going to have a romantic evening, then the sparkling wine will be just right. Fragrant, sophisticated and elegant, it pairs well with light French macarons, bright lemon sorbets, tender panna cotta or white chocolate.
Semi-dry white sparkling wine perfectly highlights the aroma and flavour of apple pie or coconut cake, while fizzy rosé is a perfect match for strawberry biscuits.
Desserts and white wine
How to choose a white wine for a dessert depends on several factors. The acidity of the wine, its fresh taste and the intensity of its flavor will be important. Besides, the usual rules apply here: if the dessert has a light filling or includes apples, oranges and pineapples, a white wine will be just right.
For example, a Gewurztraminer is a perfect match for Napoleon cake, a sweet Tokay will go well with citrus ice cream and a Riesling will underline the creaminess of the tiramisu.
Desserts and rose wine
Choosing a rosé to go with a dessert is not an easy task.
These wines tend to have a bright fruit or berry flavor, so they pair quite well with any cheese, baked fruit, and the classic New York cheesecake.
Desserts and red wine
It is very difficult to find the right combination of red wine and desserts. This is due to the high level of tannins, which can drown out the taste and sweetness. But there are exceptions.
What’s the best choice of sweets for red wine? Certainly chocolate biscuits, with dark fruit and berry fillings. The main thing is that the wine should be sweeter than the dessert, otherwise the sugar from the biscuits will drown out the taste of the wine.
Desserts and spirits
Port, madera, liqueurs based on coffee and cream are almost a win-win. They pair wonderfully with all kinds of chocolate, mousse, eclairs, profiteroles and other sweet and heavy desserts.
And with dark chocolate, try serving cognac, armagnac or even whiskey – two strong and solid characters will suit each other perfectly.
Three simple tips
And finally, three simple tips for choosing a wine to accompany dessert:
- Consider your nationality – if you have a French dish, you’d better get a French wine, too.
- The wine should be sweeter than the dessert so that it doesn’t overpower the aroma and flavor of the dessert.
- Focus on the color: dark dessert with red wine, light – with white.