There is a dessert wine out there to suit every palate, from soft and lightly sparkling to
still, rich and unctuous. It’s worth experimenting – put yourself in the hands of the sommelier next time you order dessert. In the meantime, here are some other ideas:
A Decadent Start
Robyn Lynn, Director of Food and Beverage at Triomphe restaurant at The Iroquois
Hotel New York, recommends a delicious way to start a meal. “One of my favorite pairings is vintage Sauternes and Foie Gras. The sweet lemon and honey flavors of the wine acts as a perfect counterpoint to the super-smooth texture and sometimes slightly cloying flavor of the foie gras.”
Not all dessert wines need to be sweet. David Cicciarella, the sommelier at Boston’s Brasserie JO in The Colonnade Hotel, has an out-of-the-box suggestion for chocolate pairing: “A bold Cabernet from Paso Robles – something with vibrant berry flavors and maybe a touch of eucalyptus.”
Ice wine gets its name because the grapes literally must freeze on the vine before they are harvested. This ultimately results in a wine that is incredibly concentrated, deeply fruity and remarkably complex. Inniskillin makes a Cabernet Franc version that is a personal favorite.
This is a pretty versatile wine to match with a cheese course. Blue cheeses like Stilton are a natural match, but it also goes well with salty cheeses like Camembert or nutty ones such as Munster.
For the Cocktail Connoisseur
If you’re just not that into wine, use it as a base to create the PomBerry Sparkle. It’s elegant on its own or a nice mate for chocolate.
To make the drink, add 4 ounces of VOGA Italia premium sparkling wine, 1 ounce of vanilla flavored vodka, and a splash of pomegranate juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake gently. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with pomegranate seed and fresh berries.
There’s more to dessert than just chocolate, David Cicciarella also offers these suggestions.
“If [a] custard type dessert (crème brulee, pot du crème, or flan) is ordered – have a glass of something with light effervescence like a Moscato d’Asti to cleanse the palate to follow the creaminess.
“Hot desserts with fruit such as pies or tarts are destined to be served with Ice Wine (preferably made from Cabernet Franc or Vidal Blanc.) Lastly to address a classic favorite; cheesecake is perfect with a nice Sauternes.”
For Drinking Alone…
Australia’s Jacob’s Creek has just released its Sweet Red wine in the US. A blend of Shiraz and Grenache, the wine is easy-drinking and flavorful, if a bit on the cherry cola side. However, it is delightful for sipping without any accompaniment. It also pairs well with chocolate and hearty foods like burgers. (Who knew?)