Wine and Dessert Pairings

Chocolate cake with strawberry as an example of wine and dessert pairings

Updated July 19th 2023

Wine and dessert pairings can be incredible. Port wine, Sauternes, Muscat, Riesling, Champagne... There are many delicious sweet wines that pair perfectly with desserts. In this guide we give recommendations for great wine and dessert pairings.

When it is time for dessert after a nice dinner, do you switch to coffee or tea? Consider serving a dessert wine instead. Wine is a great alternative and can be amazingly good with dessert if paired correctly. Keep reading to learn more about how to balance the sweetness in the wine and the dessert. 

General rules for pairing wine & desserts

When it comes to choosing the best wine for your dessert, you should consider a sweet wine. The sweetness in the wine will match the sugar in the dessert. Before looking into the different categories of desserts, there are a few general rules you need to keep in mind: 

You can read more in our guide about how to choose wine for desserts.

Wine with Chocolate & Caramel desserts

Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate bar, truffles…. The list of popular chocolate and caramel desserts is long. Portuguese Port wine is the most classic pairing with chocolate. Almost all Port wines pair well with chocolate, but to find the best port and chocolate pairing you should take the wine’s sweetness into consideration. The rule of thumb is to always choose a wine that is sweeter than the dessert.

You can also pair dry wines with chocolate and caramel desserts, but remember that a glass of dry red wine can taste bitter with chocolate (especially with dark chocolate). This is because of the tannins found in both wine and chocolate. If you still want a dry red wine, make sure to pick one with rich berry fruit flavors. Great wine pairings with chocolate desserts are:

Wine with Vanilla & Custard desserts

Mild, buttery and sweet vanilla desserts pair well with white wines, including sparkling wine. Classic pairings with vanilla desserts are:

Wine with Fruity & Spicy desserts

Many desserts contain fruit, berries and different types of spices like cardamom and cinnamon. Fruit and spices influence the choice of wine for desserts. In general, a wine with high acidity is good choice for this type of dessert because the acidity cuts through the sweetness and fruitiness of the dessert. Some classic pairings are:

With with a Cheese Platter

This guide focuses on sweet desserts, but it is also common to eat cheese after the meal. For a mixed cheese platter, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir are good pairings.

Tips! We recommend you to read our detailed guide about wine and cheese pairing. There you will find the perfect wine for many different types of cheeses.

Enjoy your wine and dessert!

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