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Sweet Endings-Dessert and Wine Pairings

By Brandon Chaplin, Specialty Manager

When entertaining for the holidays or for any occasion, it is not only important, but also really fun to pair wines thoughtfully and creatively with your desserts, as well as the main course. It’s fun because there are so many possibilities and wonderful ways to accentuate and compliment any dessert with your choice of wine.

When choosing a wine to serve with dessert, it is of course essential to consider the dessert itself and the qualities of both the dessert and the wine that you most want to showcase. It is good to remember the importance of balancing sweetness with acidity. With most desserts you want a wine that is comparable in sweetness to the dessert. However, there are some exceptions to this rule and other flavor factors to consider as well. Hopefully you will find the following few suggestions and basic guidelines helpful when planning you next dinner party or family get together.

When serving cake it is always nice to pair it with a sparkling wine. The effervescence helps to lighten the texture and add a lively dimension to the flavor perception. Try pairing New Leaf Market’s hearty Carrot Cake with a sweeter sparkling wine such as a Moscato D’Asti or a sweet Prosecco. If you choose a still wine, a late harvest Riesling will also pair well. These wines will accentuate and brighten the warm spice flavors and easily match the sweetness of the cake so as to not taste overly acidic, or dry in contrast.

Lighter cakes and most fruit desserts like our Lemon Blueberry cake, Blackberry Tart or Cherry Crumb Cake can be paired with drier wines such as Gewurztraminer, Vouvrey, or a Brut Prosecco. The firm acidity in these wines will complement the acidity in the fruit and harmonize with the sugars on your tongue to create a delicate and memorable flavor duet.

For rich and creamy desserts like New Leaf Market’s famous Cheesecake it is good to go with an equally sweet and decadent wine. Again, a Moscato D’Asti, a late harvest Riesling or an Ice Wine would all be excellent choices.

With chocolate desserts you can go two ways. Chocolate has such a complex flavor profile that it is complemented in most forms by sweet white wines (Moscato is a wonderful partner for our Chocolate Trifle) or in darker, more concentrated bittersweet forms, a bold Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect.

As with any wine and food pairing, personal preference and taste play the decisive role when choosing the right wine for your dessert.

Fortunately, some experimentation may be required.

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