Isn’t there some sort of a dessert revolution these days with the saccharine delights getting more and more creative and complicated at the same time? Yes, not to forget challenging for the sommelier too. Besides the traditional chocolate cakes, fruit pies, tarts or an éclair, the pastry chefs today stock you with novel desserts whose right wine pairing needs much thought and experiment. However, whatever the case may be, there is one golden rule that needs to be followed blindly. Neither the wine nor the dessert should overwhelm the other’s taste. Each should retain its individuality, but at the same time enhance the combined taste. Moreover, the chosen dessert should by no means be sweeter than the wine. This will make the wine taste sour and spoil your rendezvous altogether. Remember to pair wines high in acidity either with rich, creamy desserts or fruit desserts. And most importantly, not all sweet wines and desserts need each other. Wines like sauternes and vintage ports are best drunk on their own. Pairing a dessert with wine is mostly dominated by personal choice. So what is it that you enjoy most? Is it a mouth-tingling lemon tart, a rich deep-dark chocolate cake or sliced apples on a puff pastry with fortified, unfortified, native or vinifera wine fetched from Germany or Italy? Besides dwelling in the comfort zone and pairing wine with the age old desserts, there are a lot many options you can explore. Read on to know what they are.
Wine & Dessert Combinations
Owing all our loyalties towards this addictive bar, we would hereby begin with it. When it comes to choosing the right chocolate or right wine, the trick is to go for lighter-bodied chocolates for lighter-bodied wines. You can also seek wines that have the same flavor note as the chocolate, be it nutty, cherry or mint. Because of the intensity of flavors, a bittersweet or dark chocolate needs to be paired with stronger red wines with concentrated fruity flavor. Fortified fruity wines containing cocoa, cherry raspberry or other berry fruits are also said to be classic companions to chocolates.
Asparagus and mushroom tarts with light red wine make for a strong pairing. For lemon tarts, a fresh, late harvest white wine with little no oak is best suited. Tropical fruit tarts like pineapple or mango do well with ice wine or aged rum. Succulent apple tarts go well with Anjou wines and anything else is a second best choice. Cream based tarts require something sweet and spicy at the same time to enhance its taste. A decade or two old tawny ports, with its oak and fragrance, or a South African late harvest Riesling, team well with them. An Oloroso Sherry or a Malmsey Madeira owing to its rancid, nutty aroma is a hit with almond, walnut or pecan tarts. Even Sciacchetra, a rare wine from northern Italy can be kept as an option.
Fresh & Dried Fruits
While apples, pears and peaches go well with Asti Spumante or Cabernet, blackberries, melons and cherries combined with Muscat’s perfumed grapey characteristic taste are just perfect. Kiwis are a classic combination with fruity red or dessert wine, while bananas can be teamed with Madeira, Merlot or light red wines. Figs and dried fruits should be eaten with sherry or tawny ports.
Pairing a truffle dish with wine depends on your personal taste, the kind of truffle product and the dish being prepared. While a black truffle is for burgundy, a white truffle and old Barolo is a match made in heaven. Truffles have a wild, musky earthy depth that goes very well with the aromas and flavors that these wines eventually acquire over time. Earthy full bodied rustic red wines from the Rhone region of France match well with truffle and truffle dishes. Italy’s Piedmontese wines which are subtly aromatized with truffles are again a sensible choice.