Wine and Dessert Pairing Rules

wine and dessert next to each other

Updated July 19th 2023

Wine and dessert is a great combination if paired correctly. If you are wondering whether you can drink wine together with sweet desserts, the answer is yes! In fact, wine and desserts can pair very well together. All you need to do is follow three simple pairing rules.

Dessert wines are a little bit of a mystery for many wine drinkers. Many people enjoy wine throughout the dinner until it is time for the dessert. Then they switch to coffee or tea. In many wine-producing countries, such as Italy, France and Portugal, desserts are often served with a sweet dessert wine. Once you've tried a perfect wine pairing with a dessert, you know how delicious it can be. It will actually makes both the dessert and the wine taste better! 

Rule #1: Choose a wine sweeter than the dessert

Always pick a wine that is sweeter than the dessert, otherwise it will taste bad. If the wine does not match the sweetness of the dessert, it will taste bitter and unpleasant. That is why Port and similar wines are usually recommended for dessert pairings. 

Rule #2: Match the flavours

The flavours of the wine should match the flavours of the dessert. Wines with chocolate flavours pair well with chocolate desserts, nutty desserts pair nicely with nutty wines, wine with berry flavours match with desserts full of berries. For desserts with lots of fruit and acidity, make sure to choose wine with high natural acidity. Some good examples are:

To find out what is the best pairing for tiramisu or Pinot Noir, we recommend you to read our our guide about the best wine and dessert pairings.

Rule #3: Match the colors 

The more intense the dessert is, the more intense the wine needs to be. A good rule of thumb is to always choose a dark wine with a dark dessert, as darker wines tend to be more intense. Good examples of this color matching are: 

Special rules for wine & cheese pairing

Many people like to eat the cheese after their meal. As cheese is not sweet, the three rules above don't apply if you are having a cheese platter for dessert. Wine and cheese pairing is a complex subject because there are so many different types of cheese available. If you want to learn about cheese & wine pairing or the best wine for your cheese platter, we highly recommend you to read our extensive guide about wine and cheese pairing.

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