Now that Halloween has passed, stores — not to mention the airwaves — will be overflowing with holiday cheer. Gifts will need to be purchased, meals planned, travel arrangements made. With everything on your plate, it is easy to not have time for the details, so I am here to help you with one delicious little detail, dessert wine. Dessert wine won’t make or break your holiday meal, but it could be a sweet addition or maybe even become a new tradition.
There are many options out there for dessert wine, from pricey Sauternes to one of my great-value favorites, Trader Joe’s Muscat, so I thought I would share just a few, paired with some popular holiday desserts.
Port- A fortified wine from Portugal, Port is common on dessert menus and is usually a sweet red wine, though there are drier Ports and also white Port. Port is great with chocolate, maybe a flourless chocolate cake. I haven’t tried it, but many people also enjoy Port with soft cheeses such as brie and camembert.
Sparkling Wine- Bubbly goes with just about everything. I really can’t think of a meal or occasion where I wouldn’t drink a little sparkling wine. Something like Mionetto Il Muscato is a great option for both the taste and the price and is tasty with richer desserts like cheesecake.
Late Harvest Wines – Made with grapes that have stayed on the vine longer than usual, late harvest wines are generally sweeter because, as they hang out on the vine, the grapes dehydrate, removing water and concentrating sugar and flavor. Some of my favorites include late harvest Zinfandel and Riesling. Some of these late harvest wines are great for drinking with fruit pies or tarts, very common holiday desserts. A nice, inexpensive option for late harvest wine is Hogue late harvest Riesling.
Dessert wines can be expensive, but a little does go a long way. They are usually consumed in smaller amounts; a big glass of dessert wine — like eating too much dessert — can be quite unpleasant!
So this holiday season, as you plan menus and get invited to holiday meals, don’t forget the dessert wine!