Picture this: you’ve just savored the last spoonful of your favorite dessert. But something’s missing. The moment begs for that perfect sip of wine to turn a mere meal into a symphony of flavors.

Ever wonder what wine goes with dessert? It’s an art, matching the right sweet wine to the creamy cheesecakes or a sparkling Moscato to those light, airy pastries.

I’ve got you covered. The dance between desserts and wine is intricate, sure, but oh so rewarding when you get the steps right. You’re in for a treat as we uncork the secrets behind wine and food pairing.

By the end of this journey, you’ll be the maestro of dessert wines, knowing whether to reach for a Riesling or a Sauternes with your sweet indulgences.

We’ll toast to dessert wine recommendations, dabble in wine serving temperatures, and explore the flavor profiles that elevate every last bite. Ready to pour a glass of confidence at your next dinner party? Let’s dive in.

What Wine Goes with Dessert

Dessert Type Wine Recommendation Flavor Profile Serving Temperature Reason for Pairing
Rich Chocolate Desserts Port or Banyuls Sweet with ripe berry notes 55-65°F (13-18°C) Bold wines balance the richness of chocolate
Fruit Pies or Tarts Riesling or Moscato Sweet with citrus or peach notes 45-50°F (7-10°C) Light, sweet wines complement the fruitiness
Cheese Cakes Sauternes or Vin Santo Luscious and honeyed 50-57°F (10-14°C) Sweetness of the wine cuts through the cheesecake’s creaminess
Custards and Flans Sherry or Malmsey Madeira Nutty with hints of caramel 55-60°F (13-15.5°C) The wine’s richness complements the silky texture
Ice Creams Sparkling Dessert Wine or Brachetto d’Acqui Light, fizzy with berry flavors 40-45°F (4-7°C) Effervescence cleanses the palate between bites

Understanding the Basics

The role of sweetness in wine and dessert

Alright, so let’s break it down. First things first: sweetness. The sugar in your dessert can make a wine seem less sweet than it actually is. Ever tried a sweet wine on its own and found it just right, but then when paired with an even sweeter dessert, it tastes almost bitter? That’s because your palate is comparing the two.

So, the trick here?

Always ensure your wine is sweeter or at least as sweet as your dessert. This ensures that the wine doesn’t get overshadowed. And if you’re wondering what wine goes with dessert, it’s all about harmonizing the sweetness levels.

The impact of bitterness and tannins

Now, for my coffee lovers out there, you’d know the taste of bitterness. Bitterness in wine, especially from tannins, can feel magnified when you’re pairing it with a sweet dessert.

So, say you’re relishing a dark chocolate tart, you’d want to steer clear from super tannic wines. They’ll clash. It’s like playing punk rock over a soothing classical piece. Doesn’t quite fit, right?

The principle of matching intensity

Ever heard of the phrase “like attracts like”? Well, in the world of desserts and wines, this is golden.

You wouldn’t pair a light airy meringue with a heavy red, just as you wouldn’t match a dense chocolate cake with a light, crisp white.


Because they’ll simply overpower each other. The flavors should dance together, not wrestle.

So when pondering on what wine goes with dessert, think about the weight and intensity of both the dessert and the wine.

Chocolate Desserts

Ah, chocolate. It’s like the diva of desserts. From the creamy milk chocolate to the robust dark chocolate, and let’s not forget the delicate white chocolate.

But when you think about what wine goes with dessert, especially our cocoa-laden faves, it gets tricky. Let’s dive deep.

The challenge of pairing with chocolate

The bitterness factor
So, you’re diving into a piece of dark chocolate, right? It’s bittersweet, full of those unique cocoa flavors. Now, add wine to the mix. Suddenly, things can get… well, complicated.


Because the inherent bitterness in some chocolates, especially the dark kinds, can play havoc with certain wines. It’s kinda like trying to wear neon green with neon orange. They’re both loud, but they don’t quite vibe.

The richness of cocoa
Now, not to throw more ingredients into our mix, but the richness of cocoa varies. I mean, a 55% cocoa chocolate will act different than an 85% one.

It’s like they have different personalities, and pairing them with wine is like setting up a blind date. You’re hoping for a match, but you gotta know the personalities involved.

Recommended Pairings

Dark Chocolate
Okay, so you’re eyeing that bar of dark chocolate. Wondering what wine goes with dessert of this kind? Here you go:

  • Vintage Port: This is like the power couple of the chocolate-wine world. Rich, fruity, with the strength to hold its own against dark chocolate. Perfect harmony.
  • Tawny Port: A bit lighter, with those caramel vibes. If you’ve got a dark chocolate with nuts, this is a killer pairing.
  • Merlot: Now, here’s a classic. The fruity notes, the slight hint of sweetness. It’s like they were meant to be.

Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate’s a bit more laid back, you know? Creamier, sweeter. And the wines that go with it, well, they’re kinda like the cool kids on the block.

  • Brachetto d’Acqu: Think strawberries and whipped cream. This pairing is all kinds of romantic. Perfect for date night.
  • Tawny Port: Yup, our friend’s back. Tawny’s versatile like that. With milk chocolate, it’s like a cozy blanket on a winter night. Comforting and just right.

White Chocolate
White chocolate’s like the wild card in the chocolate family. A tad sweet, buttery, kinda delicate.

  • Late Harvest Riesling: The sweetness of the Riesling with the creaminess of white chocolate? It’s like music.
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: A bit zesty, a bit fresh, and when you pair it with white chocolate, it’s like summer in a bite.

Fruit-Based Desserts

I don’t know about you, but I’m a massive sucker for fruit desserts. Whether it’s a tangy lemon tart or a sweet berry compote, they bring this vibrant, fresh feeling.

It’s like the dessert version of a morning yoga stretch. Now, when it comes to thinking about what wine goes with dessert of the fruity kind, things can get all types of exciting.

Berry Desserts

Raspberry, Strawberry, and other berry wines
Okay, so imagine diving into a bowl of mixed berries. Fresh, tangy, a little sweet. You’d think, “Let’s grab a berry wine.” And you’d be spot on. It’s kinda like pairing a leather jacket with leather boots. They just vibe together. So, if you’re having a berry sorbet or even a berry pie, think no further.

Rosé is like that friend who gets along with everyone. It’s versatile. Whether it’s strawberries, raspberries, or even blackberries, rosé is up for the challenge. It’s got this delicate red fruit flavor that works wonders with berry desserts. A little bit like mixing your favorite playlist with a scenic drive.

A bit of a mouthful, right? But oh, so worth it. Think of this as the unexpected plot twist. It’s sweet, aromatic, and when paired with berry desserts, it’s like watching fireworks. Full of surprises.

Apple Desserts

German Riesling (Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese)
Apples are classic. They’re the jeans of the fruit world. Whether it’s an apple pie or apple crumble, you want a wine that does it justice.

Enter German Rieslings. Depending on the sweetness of your apple dessert, you can pick from Kabinett, Spätlese, or Auslese. It’s like choosing the right shoes to match your outfit. Always a win.

Ever had sparkling wine with your apple tart? If not, you’re missing out. Prosecco, with its bubbly charm, just elevates the whole experience. Think of it as the confetti at a party. Instant mood lifter.

Moscato d’Asti
Sweet, a bit bubbly, and oh so aromatic. Moscato d’Asti and apple desserts are a match made in heaven. It’s a bit like putting on your favorite tune and having an impromptu dance-off. Pure joy.

Citrus Desserts (e.g., Lemon Meringue Pie)

Ice Wine
Citrus is all about zing. It’s vibrant, it’s tangy, it’s got attitude. Now, match that with ice wine. It’s like pairing electric guitar with powerful vocals. They might be different, but together, they rock.

Late Harvest Whites
These wines are rich and sweet, kind of like a warm hug. With citrus desserts, especially something as tangy as a lemon meringue pie, they balance out the flavors perfectly. It’s like listening to a ballad with strong beats.

Okay, who doesn’t love bubbles? Especially with something as zesty as citrus. It’s crisp, it’s refreshing, and paired with citrus desserts, it feels like the first day of spring.

Creamy and Rich Desserts

Okay, deep breaths, everyone. This is where we dive deep into the world of indulgent, velvety, make-your-heart-skip-a-beat kind of desserts.

Let’s be real, there’s something about creamy desserts that just feels like a warm blanket on a chilly evening. But the burning question remains, what wine goes with dessert when it’s all creamy and dreamy? Let’s find out.

Creme Brulee

Alright, picture this. You’ve got your spoon, you’re cracking that golden sugar crust, and then diving into that creamy custard beneath. That’s creme brulee for you. And what’s the wine you want by your side? Sauternes. It’s sweet, it’s rich, and it’s got that little bit of magic to make the whole experience pop.

If you’re feeling a tad adventurous, and trust me on this, get a bottle of Gewürztraminer. It’s aromatic, it’s zesty, and it’s like that surprise guest at a party who turns out to be the life of it. Paired with creme brulee, it’s nothing short of a fiesta.

Ever paired something bubbly and sweet with something creamy? If not, you’re in for a treat. Moscato’s gentle bubbles and creme brulee’s creamy goodness is like listening to your fave jam on repeat. So satisfying.

Tiramisu and Mocha Desserts

Vin Santo
Tiramisu, with its layers of coffee-soaked biscuits and mascarpone, deserves something special. Enter Vin Santo. It’s a bit nutty, a bit sweet, and when you pair it with tiramisu, it’s like those epic movie moments. Dramatic and delightful.

Cream Sherry
Think of this as the classic rom-com pairing. Cream sherry, with its nutty sweetness, and mocha desserts. Every bite and sip feels like that scene where the leads finally get together. Spoiler: It’s a happy ending.

Ruby Port
Rich, fruity, and oh-so-decadent. That’s Ruby Port for ya. Paired with anything mocha, it’s like a symphony of flavors. Each note perfectly in tune. Every bite and sip telling a story.

Hazelnut Desserts

Brachetto d’Acqu
Okay, hazelnuts are the unsung heroes of the dessert world. Nutty, sweet, and a bit earthy. Now, to elevate that experience, go for a Brachetto d’Acqu. It’s aromatic, it’s light, and it’s a match made in dessert heaven.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Might sound a bit left-field, but hear me out. Cabernet Sauvignon, with its deep fruity notes, is the kind of drama you want with a hazelnut dessert. It’s like that unexpected plot twist that you didn’t see coming but totally love.

Unique and Modern Desserts

Woah, okay, we’re stepping into the world of trendy, Insta-worthy desserts now.

You know, those kind of treats that blow up your feed and make you drool a little? Yeah, those. But again, what wine goes with dessert that’s more on the modern side? Let’s get to it.

Biscoff Desserts

So, Biscoff, aka that cookie butter goodness that’s been everywhere.

It’s sweet, it’s spicy, and it’s kinda like that one song that’s stuck in your head. You just can’t get enough of it.

Think about it. Biscoff has this intense caramel, kinda gingery vibe.

Sherry? It’s nutty, it’s complex, and paired with Biscoff, it’s like that collab between two artists you never expected but absolutely adore. An unforgettable duo.

General Tips for Successful Pairing

Alright, folks. Before we wrap up this wild wine and dessert ride, let’s drop some general wisdom. Because pairing? It’s an art and a science, but mostly, it’s about what makes your tastebuds do the happy dance.

The importance of experimentation

Here’s the tea: there are no rules set in stone. Everyone’s palate is unique. So if you’re ever pondering what wine goes with dessert, try stuff out. Mix and match. Go wild. Maybe you’ll stumble upon a combo that’s absolutely revolutionary.

Matching wine and dessert colors

Sounds superficial? But trust me on this. Dark desserts? Think red and rich wines. Lighter, airy desserts? Lean towards whites and rosés. It’s visually appealing and, more often than not, a good guideline for a harmonious pairing.

Considering the intensity and flavor profile

Ever been to a concert and the opener totally overshadows the main act? That’s what you want to avoid. Make sure your wine and dessert are in harmony. Neither should overpower the other. Think of them as a duo, making sweet music together. So when you’re deciding what wine goes with dessert, remember: balance is the name of the game.

FAQ On What Wine Goes With Dessert

Is there a go-to wine that pairs well with most desserts?

Truth be told, the safest bet is usually a sparkling wine like Prosecco. Its bubbles cut through richness, and the subtle sweetness complements, rather than overpowers your dessert. Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of fizz to celebrate a good meal’s end?

Does red wine pair with chocolate desserts?

Absolutely. When you’re eyeing that dark chocolate mousse, reach for a Port. Its rich, intense flavors are the ticket to chocolate heaven. A good rule of thumb: the darker the chocolate, the richer the wine you wanna partner it with.

What about pairing wine with fruit-based desserts?

Here’s what kicks it up a notch— Riesling or Moscato. These light, sweet wines are just the wingmen for fruity treats. They echo the dessert’s natural zest without bulldozing over the flavors. Remember, harmony is key.

Is there a type of wine that works well with creamy desserts?

Creamy desserts? Say hello to Sauternes. This sweet, full-bodied wine is a dream date for anything creamy. It’s also got this magical way of making those vanilla and buttery notes shine. Trust me, it’s a match made in heaven.

How does wine sweetness impact dessert pairing?

Think of it as a balancing act. If your dessert could make a sugar cube blush, aim for a wine that’s just as sweet— like late harvest vinos. It’s all about preventing the wine from tasting dull; the dessert shouldn’t outshine it.

For a dinner party, what wine should I offer with an assorted dessert platter?

Party on your hands? Flexibility is your friend. Champagne or a nice sparkling wine. They’re the social butterflies of the wine world—getting along with a wide array of desserts, from creamy to fruity to lightly sweet.

Can I serve white wine with dessert?

You bet. A chilled glass of Ice Wine or Riesling plays well with lots of desserts. White wines often bring this refreshing acidity to the table, which is a cool contrast to sweeter profiles.

Does the temperature of the wine matter when pairing with dessert?

Big time. Tip: serve sweet wines slightly chilled. It heightens the freshness and keeps the sweetness from being cloying. Think of wine temperature as the dial that tunes the whole experience.

Can I pair a dessert with a wine that has high tannins?

Here’s the deal, high tannins can compete with the sweetness and complexity of a dessert. So, generally, it’s a gentle no. Unless you’re into bold experiments, keep the tannin-packed wines for savory dishes.

What should be considered for texture compatibility between wine and dessert?

Texture talk— silky desserts love a wine that can match their elegance. Like, a velvety Port sidles up nicely to a smooth ganache. The wine should either complement or contrast the texture in an interesting way. It’s like choosing the right rhythm for the dancefloor.


As we swirl to a close, I hope your lingering question of what wine goes with dessert feels less like a mystery and more like a discovery. You’ve uncorked the nuances of dessert wine pairings, from the bubbly delights of Champagne to the sumptuous depth of a Port with chocolate.

You’re now equipped with the knowledge to harmonize the zest of fruit desserts with a playful Moscato, and you understand the cozy embrace between a creamy treat and a glass of Sauternes. It’s about more than just taste; it’s about creating moments that buzz with the right atmosphere—served at that perfect, chill temperature.

Remember, the best pairings are the ones that bring joy to your palate. They’re personal, sometimes unexpected, and always an adventure. So, here’s to your next sweet finale! Raise a glass to the magic you’ll create when you next ponder the perfect pour.

If you liked this article about what wine goes with dessert, you should check out this article about what wine goes with veal.

There are also similar articles discussing what wine goes with goat cheesewhat wine goes with mahi mahiwhat wine goes with ahi tuna, and what wine goes with pizza margherita.

And let’s not forget about articles on what wine goes with surf and turfwhat wine goes with French onion soupwhat wine goes with blue cheese, and what wine goes with lobster ravioli.

Categorized in: