We may be “good” all year long, but when holiday time rolls around, it’s almost impossible not to succumb to at least one or two sweet treats.
And why not? Unless there are health issues, why should there be deprivation if there ultimately is no reward? Plus, in the interest of curbing unemployment, keep in mind that the folks at Baker Square and Cheesecake Factory are counting on you.
Fortunately, there are a number of wines that pair nicely with the decadent desserts of the season.
Let’s begin with pumpkin pie. Its distinctive flavor matches beautifully with sweet sparkling wines. Finding a sweet sparkler requires a little bit of knowledge because many such wines include the words “extra dry” on their labels. Other words to look for include “sec,” “demi-sec” and “doux.”
A sweet sparkler also is a good choice to accompany desserts with buttery crusts, English toffee and custard tarts.
Noticeably sweeter on the “sugar spectrum” are late harvest wines, made from grapes that were left on the vines well past the regular harvest, allowing their sugar levels to skyrocket. “Nectar-like” is a phrase you often hear in conjunction with these elixirs, which require a bit of density in their pairing partners.
The best match? It’s tough to beat cheesecake topped with berries (pick your favorite), but carrot cake is another tasty option. With late harvest Zinfandel, a piece of high-quality dark chocolate is almost sinful.
Chocolate and its various iterations (including mocha or cupcakes) find their real soul mates in Port, the sweet wines of Portugal that are fortified with brandy. Port also goes well with anything nutty, including pecan pie.
And what about wines that exhibit just a hint of sweetness? Since they typically have bright fruit flavors, pair them with fruit-based desserts – apple pie, a peach tart, pear slices with a dollop of whipped cream, or pineapple upside-down cake.