Skip to Content

How to Pair Dessert with Wine

Ever wonder how to pair dessert with wine? If you’re planning a special menu and are looking for just the right wine to serve with dessert, look no further. Here are three of my delicious dessert recipes with wine pairing recommendations.

How to pair dessert with wine

If you’re serving a devinely sweet and rich dessert it might be best not to drink wine with your creation since it could simply overwhelm the wine. On the other hand, if you’ve got a very special sweet wine it can be all the dessert that you need. For those occasions when you want to serve both dessert and wine at the end of the meal, here are some guidelines to help you create a great pairing.

I’m not a wine expert, but I’m not afraid to create pairings based on my own taste and the advice of the experts. When pairing food and wine, experts advise that the dish and the drink should match in body, acidity and complexity of flavor. An additional key piece of advice for how to pair dessert with wine; the dessert should not be sweeter than the wine. You don’t want the wine to taste tart and thin when sipped with a very sweet or really rich dessert.

Check out some of my favorite dessert and wine combinations. Click on the recipe title to see the full recipe and pairing suggestions:

Apricot Frangipane Tartlettes & Asti

I think fruit tarts are a great partner for many dessert wines. Short dough crust is not extremely sweet and fresh fruit topping can highlight the fruit flavors in a good dessert wine. I like this particular pairing because the bubbles in the Asti cut though buttery frangipane filling perfectly.

Apricot frangipane tartlettes

Classic Creme Brulee & Sauternes

There’s a reason that Sauternes & Creme Brulee is a classic pairing. The rich body of Sauternes matches nicely with vanilla custard. The sweetness of the sugar topping is tamed by bitter notes in the caramel, so the wine is not overwhelmed by sweetness.

vanilla creme brulee

Warm Chocolate Almond Cake & Ice Wine 

Chocolate Almond flourless cake is not super-sweet so it doesn’t wash out the flavor of Cabernet Ice Wine. A good Ice Wine has enough acidity to stand up to the richness of the chocolate cake. Cabernet Ice Wine has lovely berry flavors that work well with maple roasted cherries.

Warm flourless chocolate almond cake paired with Cabernet Ice WineCheers to a happy & healthy New Year!!


Sunday 1st of January 2017

Such great suggestions!

Eileen Gray

Monday 2nd of January 2017

Thanks, MIchelle. Happy New Year!


Sunday 1st of January 2017

Although I drink wine, I don't consider myself very knowledgeable when it comes to wine pairings. Thanks for the great tips!

Eileen Gray

Monday 2nd of January 2017

Thanks, Isabel. I'm no wine expert, but I know what I like.

Eileen Gray

Friday 30th of December 2016

Hi Sara, I totally agree with you about dark chocolate and a big red. I always say that red wine and chocolate and two of my favorite food groups, especially when served together!


Friday 30th of December 2016

Wine can be paired with anything! Love your post because it allows people an entry into that thought process. As crazy as it may be, I'm still such a big fan of deep, rich, chocolate desserts and a cab from Napa (or something that also provides a complex, rich profile.) Love your post!! Looking forward to more!


Friday 30th of December 2016

What an interesting and informative article! Wishing you a very happy 2017 :)

Eileen Gray

Monday 2nd of January 2017

Thanks, Katrin!