Best dessert wine pairings

Our guide to the three main dessert wines and how they pair with your favorite sweets

Late-harvest dessert wine

Late-harvest dessert wines play well with fruit tarts, no matter the season.

Iain Bagwell

Sweet sparkler dessert wine

Sweet sparklers complement a variety of flavors, including fall favorite pumpkin pie.

Leo Gong

Port-style dessert wine

Port is a classic combo with chocolatey treats.

Annabelle Breakey

Rule of thumb: The wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert, with enough acidity for balance.

LATE-HARVEST

Made from grapes left on the vine past normal picking times to build sugar levels.

Whites taste like: Nectarlike stone fruit, candied citrus, and baked apple flavors. If the grapes had botrytis, or “noble rot,” expect honey.

Red (namely late-harvest Zinfandel) tastes like: Full of dried cherries and chocolate.

Great with: Cheesecake with berries, fruit tarts, apple pie, and carrot cake; late-harvest Zin is yummy with chocolate.

Recommended bottles:

SWEET SPARKLERS

Called “extra dry,” “sec,” “demi-sec,” or “doux,” depending on the sweetness of the dosage (a blend of sugar and wine added just before corking).

Tastes like: Apple, pear, creamy citrus, berry, and yeast flavors.

Great with: Cheesecake, custard-fruit tarts, apple pie, buttery-crusted desserts, pumpkin pie, and English toffee.

Recommended bottles: 

PORT-STYLE

Sweet wines from Portuguese grape varieties, Zin, or Syrah, fortified with brandy.

Tastes like: Dark cherry and berry flavors, with chocolate, coffee, and licorice.

Great with: All things chocolate, pecan pie, and mocha.

Recommended bottles:

Printed from:
http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/wine-pairings/dessert-wine-00418000084689/