Best wines to pair with dessert

Serve up some vino with that cake!

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From fruity apple pie to decadent dark chocolates, finding the perfect wine to pair with desserts can be tricky. Read on to discover the best wines to serve up alongside your favorite sweet treats.

Let's get started pairing sweet desserts and sipping vino!

Acidity, intensity and sweetness

To start, remember these three characteristics:
1. Acidity: High-acidic wines pair well with fruit desserts, which also have a natural acidity.
2. Intensity: The richer and more intense the dessert, the higher the intensity of the wine.
3. Sweetness: Wines should complement the sweetness of the dessert, not overpower it.

Vanilla and custard

Another quick tip to remember is that as the desserts get darker, the wines get darker as well. So that means your custard, petit fours and vanilla-flavored desserts pair best with white wines like late-harvest rieslings, sparkling wines like champagne, and Asti Spumante. These complement the mild, light and buttery flavors of both the desserts and the wines.  

Fruit and spice

Fruit and spiced desserts like apple pie, fruit tarts, poached pears and cinnamon flavors are all complemented best by white wines as well. Try a Sauternes, late-harvest Gewürtztraminer or pink champagne for a perfect pairing. The fruity aromas of the wine will pair well with the spiced fruit flavors in the dessert. Mix your wine with your dessert and try this plum wine and raspberry dessert recipe!

Caramel and chocolate

Caramel and chocolate desserts are suited best for wines with dark, buttery, caramelized and rich flavors. Try red wines like pinot noir, Australian shiraz, Banyuls or grenache. Of course the classic chocolate pairing is a port wine, which is always a great fit. If you’re a white-wine lover, check out these tips on pairing chocolate with white wines.

Ice cream

If you’re an ice cream fan, finding the perfect wine to pair can be tricky. The cold and cream of the ice cream make it hard to pair with the rich flavors of wine, but a sherry used as a decadent topping makes for a fancy ice cream sundae. Try adding two tablespoons of port wine or sherry to cherry topping.


Cheesecake is one of America’s most popular desserts, but also a difficult one to pair with wine. Opt for a sparkling wine like champagne or a rich wine like Sauternes or Gewürtztraminer. Swap out the tip from above and add a port wine cherry glaze over a vanilla cheesecake.

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