Luscious Endings Back to Event Details
Intense yet smooth, a glass of dessert wine can be an ideal finale to any meal. Often incredibly sweet, this type of wine can stand alone as a dessert or be paired with other treats.
If you and your friends aren't well-versed in dessert wines, add a wine tasting to your dessert party plans.
- Serve dessert wine in smaller glasses and savor slowly, because it's flavorful and has a higher alcohol content than table wine.
- Sample these common options:
- Fortified wines. These wines are boosted with spirits, which were initially used centuries ago to preserve the wines during transport. Fortified wines typically contain 17 to 21 percent alcohol. Port, Sherry, Muscat, Madeira and Marsala are good varieties to try.
- Late-harvest wines. These are made from grapes that stay on the vines longer. As water evaporates during ripening, concentrated sugar remains in the shriveled grapes. Look for late-harvest Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.
- Ice wine. More commonly known as Eiswein, this wine takes the late-harvest method up a notch. Eiswein comes from grapes that have frozen on the vines, resulting in supersweet, overripe fruit.
- Remember that dessert wines are packed with flavor and can leave guests feeling delightfully satisfied, even when the wines aren't accompanied by other sweets.
Have a variety of beverages on hand to accompany a dessert party. Think about how the flavors will mesh with the desserts. If you're not sure what pairs well, try these suggestions:
- Have coffee, tea and other nonalcoholic drinks available.
- Select wines that are sweeter than the dessert they're paired with (so the dessert doesn't overpower the wine).
- Experiment pairing beverages with flavors and textures. For example:
- Enjoy creamy desserts, such as crème brûlée, with Muscat.
- Complement bittersweet or dark chocolate with full-bodied red wine.
- Break open a bottle of bubbly if you're serving mousse or another airy dessert.
- Pair caramel and toffee sweets with Tawny Port.
- Serve fruit, cheese or a handful of nuts with less-sweet wines.